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Published On: March 17, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

The COVID-19 Pandemic- Information for Deputies

We are in the midst of an unprecedented modern-day crisis which is impacting each of us greatly, but which poses the biggest threat to the most vulnerable individuals in our society.

The scale of the coronavirus pandemic and the rapidity of its growth has caused all institutions and businesses, without exception, to carefully consider emergency strategies for dealing with this outbreak as effectively as possible, whilst minimising the impact on the general public.

Within the Court of Protection, we act on behalf of the most vulnerable people, many of whom are classified as being in the ‘high-risk’ category. As a member of a Deputyship team, you may be wondering how you can assist in keeping clients as safe as possible without being present on the ground.

In order to ensure that clients have an adequate level of protection in place, it is imperative to work closely with the clinical teams instructed by the Deputies and confirm that they are employing appropriate strategies.

Risk Assessments

If case managers are in place, the Deputyship team should liaise with them to seek confirmation of the steps being taken to mitigate risk. The advice given by the Case Management Society UK is that case managers should undertake specific risk assessments related to usual case management practices, including client visits and attendances at meetings. Where possible, exposure should be limited for clients and case managers. Case managers should monitor infection-control efforts and issue guidance to the client’s wider clinical team and family.

Directly Employed Staff

Case managers should consider the impact of risk for directly employed care staff and advise Deputies on their assessment. If no case manager is in place, government guidance for employers during this crisis is available here. Current government guidance should be disseminated to all employed staff regularly, particularly in cases of high-risk clients and where the employee has travelled to an affected region. It is paramount to keep channels of communication open to ensure any issues can be identified and addressed immediately so as to protect the client from risk. Click here for specific advice issued by the government on the provision of home care, which employers and employees will find beneficial.

Contingency Plans

It is also important for case managers and therapists to prepare contingency plans which deal with the various possible outcomes. It may be necessary to revise these plans daily during this phase of the pandemic. Deputies should consider arranging a bank of support staff in the event of a high number of staff self-isolating in the coming weeks. It may be necessary to line-up alternative agencies who could provide the adequate level of support if the current agency cannot guarantee that it will meet the client’s needs.

To avoid a delay in meeting funding requests for supplies, the Deputies may use their authority to provide case managers with an appropriate contingency fund, which can be spent in the client’s best interests on the ground without requiring specific approval from Deputies in the case of smaller payments.

During this challenging time, we are working closely with our clients and their clinical teams to provide a robust service and overcome the obstacles we are facing. We hope to support our clients in every possible way and offer them peace of mind in terms of their care provision.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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