Care England has welcomed news that coroners will no longer have a duty to undertake an inquest into death of every person who was subject to an authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).
Under the changes, a person subject to a DoLS who dies will not need to be reported to the coroner unless the cause of death is unknown, unnatural or violent, including cases where care may have contributed to the death.
Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive for Care England, (pictured) said: “Care England has worked hard to ensure that these changes take place. At present many older people with dementia, whose deaths are expected, are frequently subjected to investigations after death.
“Often police who are uniformed attend care homes under their legal duties and begin questioning staff and relatives as though a crime has been committed. This is extremely distressing for families, care home staff and fellow residents.
“Investigations into deaths under DoLS take needless time which prevents families from being able to mourn and proceed with funeral arrangements. This does not allow for the calm and dignified death that most people and their families want.”
DoLS are an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which protects the rights of people who may lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves.
DoLS are used when it is necessary to deprive the liberty of someone who lacks capacity to consent to their care or treatment in order to keep them safe from harm.