Mental capacity during COVID-19: advice for social care

Information, resources and guidance around mental capacity during COVID-19

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is at the heart of good, empowering practice in health and social care. This quick guide aims to help people across social care and health settings to apply its provisions about making best interests decisions for or on behalf of people who lack the relevant capacity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MCA remains unaltered by the Coronavirus Act 2020. But while the law stays the same, applying the MCA in practice clearly has to take on board the new and challenging implications of COVID-19 and the measures, such as social distancing and testing, in place to combat it.

Please see the Best interests decisions: A COVID-19 quick guide published by the Social Care Institute for Excellence for more information.

Please also see the below three publications from Essex Chambers on mental capacity in relation to COVID-19 testing, social distancing, self-isolation and the COVID-19 vaccination.

Consent to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination (Information from Alzheimer’s society United Against Dementia)

Older people and those with dementia are among the early groups to be offered a coronavirus vaccine. Deciding whether to have the vaccine or not is a choice for those who are offered it but some people with dementia will not be able to decide for themselves. For more information please visit Consent to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.

The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance

Please see DHSC guidance on offering a vaccine to someone who lacks the relevant mental capacity

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