Currently, there are more than 100,000 DoLS referrals in a backlog, which has increased since the Supreme Court’s ‘Cheshire West’ ruling in March 2014. This ruling lowered the threshold for cases requiring DoLS authorisations and has resulted in a ten-fold increase in applications.
In the space of one year, the number of DoLS applications increased from around 25,000 to 101,750 in April 2016. It is a figure that is unsustainable and puts incredible pressure on local authorities in a time of reducing resources and budgets.
How do we solve the DoLS situation?
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has recently come out with a process solution to the backlog of DoLS cases.
ADASS has suggested process transformation to triage via ‘RAG’ing (Red, Amber, Green) DoLS Assessments.
The solution put forward by ADASS will move a lot of these assessments online, into ‘desktop style assessments’. These assessments would only be used in cases that have been triaged as ‘low priority’ or renewals of existing authorisations of the last six months.
Moving these cases to a desktop format would reduce the backlog and help to regain some control over the situation. ADASS have said that all cases that fall under this criteria would be subject to nine strict criteria points and wouldn’t result in any reduction in care. This would include if relatives are present and object to the process or if any additional safeguarding concerns have been raised. If none are present, then a more proportional approach should be used. What is meant by this, is that shorter visits could be undertaken, depending on the needs of the individual.
How can technology help the DoLS Assessment process?
We have identified a number of issues that slow down the DoLS process
Issue 1: The individuals in the Care Home that complete the forms do so infrequently so they are often incomplete or incorrect
Solution: By using the latest technology and embedding relevant DoLS guidance via online training and video guidance you ensure that you those completing the form have all the detail they need to complete the form correctly. The intelligence within a modern application like Eclipse will also validate and highlight to the user any information that they may have missed/incorrectly filled in.
Issue 2: Paper handling; the number of assessments Local Authorities have to deal with usually means using contract staff and having paper processes
Solution: By using modern technology the whole process can be electronic, the workflow will manage the process and eradicate the need to record using paper.
Issue 3: Ensuring DoLS assessments are processed on time
Solution: Using the latest technology, your workflow will ensure that all assessments are completed on time. The software can help to make the processing of cases as efficient as possible and automate the case pathways based on rules and the data given in the forms. What this means in practice is that the software can help you to save time and money by becoming more efficient as an organisation
For OLM as a company, we believe in safeguarding the lives of individuals and have spent the past 25 years in pursuit of this goal. We have become a market leader within the field and believe that the approach ADASS have put forth is the correct one. It will help to relieve the pressure placed on the system.
Let us change your tomorrow by contacting us today and say yes to case management that makes a real difference.