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CQC: Closer safeguarding inspections for care homes

Care homes will be regularly checked for implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced. 

The MCA outlines how people in vulnerable circumstances should be cared for, and how to strike the balance between respect for rights to liberty and independence and the need to protect people when they lack the capacity to make decisions. 

A recently released report on how Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) have been applied reveal concerns that the Act is not understood and implemented consistently. Findings include: 

 - People in care homes and hospitals may continue to be subject to restraint and possible deprivation of liberty without legal protection

 - People's experiences of the DoLS are mixed - our case studies show how the system can work well for people

 - There has been a significant increase in the number of applications for the use of DoLS to protect the rights of people aged over 85

 - Application rates continue to vary by region - but the reasons for this are unknown

 - Around two thirds of care homes and hospitals are failing to notify CQC of the outcome of DoLS applications as required by law

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “We expect more focus on reducing the restraint and restriction of vulnerable people lacking capacity.

“We want to ensure people who are unable to consent to treatment because they lack capacity receive high quality care as a fundamental part of health and care services. While there has been an increase in the use of DoLS there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure people are appropriately cared for.

“This year, CQC is strengthening its approach to monitoring this legislation and we will be working more closely with local authorities to support them in their roles as supervisory bodies.”