Background DNACPR decisions must be discussed with patients and, where patients lack capacity to be involved in DNACPR decision-making, with a legal proxy or next of kin. COVID-19 posed several challenges to DNACPR decision-making and communication including rapid, untimely clinical deteriorations and the prohibition of visitation in care homes. Simultaneously, there were concerning reports of blanket DNACPR orders being placed on care home residents. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued guidance during the pandemic around remote capacity assessments.
Aims This project reviewed practice around remote capacity assessments and communication around DNACPR decisions in care home residents in 2020.
Methods Secondary analysis of data from a trust-wide audit was performed. 30 DNACPR forms from 2020 were randomly selected from Salford Care Homes Medical Practice.
Results Capacity assessments were undertaken in line with DHSC guidance in all notes reviewed. Clinicians considered previous capacity assessments, remote assessments via iPad or telephone, and the views of care home staff, patients’ relatives, legal proxy and IMCAs. 2 of 30 patients were deemed to have mental capacity. All DNACPR decisions were discussed with the patient, or where the patient lacked capacity, with the next of kin or legal proxy.
Conclusion We identified good uptake of DHSC guidance around remote capacity assessments during 2020, however since undertaking this analysis, the MCA guidelines have been revoked. There is now no guidance to support clinicians should capacity assessments need to be undertaken remotely. There is an urgent need for policy makers to address this, due to the possibility of further outbreaks and the clinically vulnerable nature of the care home population.
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