Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) making decisions about your care and treatment?

What does Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) mean?

Some people, who are in hospital, care homes and in certain other types of accommodation, can't make their own decisions about their living arrangements, treatment and care because they lack the mental ability to do so.

For example someone with a severe brain injury.

They will need more care and protection than others to ensure their well-being is maintained and they do not suffer any harm.

Treating and caring for people who need extra protection may mean restricting what they can or cannot do.

An example would be stopping a person leaving a care home because they are very likely to hurt themselves.

Where a person without the ability to decide on their living and care arrangements is under continuous supervision and control, and they are not free to leave the hospital or care home or other accommodation, because harm may occur.

This means that they maybe likely to be deprived of their freedom.

In these circumstances, the place looking after the person must apply to the Council to have this deprivation authorised as in the person's best interests.

In certain circumstances, the application may need to be made to the Court of Protection. Website: Court of Protection website (opens in a new window).

Are you concerned someone you know is being deprived of their liberty?

If you think someone you know is being cared for in a way that is depriving them of their liberty and the deprivation is not authorised the first step is to approach the staff who are looking after them.

Ask if care could be given in a way that is less restrictive and, if not, ask if they have taken the necessary steps to request a DOLS assessment.

Are you concerned someone subject to a DOLS is not being properly cared for?

If authorisation is in place for the person you know, but you think the level of restriction exceeds that which is authorised, you are also entitled to query this. In such a case, a review may be necessary.

In either of the above circumstances, if you have made efforts to correct things with the Care Home or Hospital but remain concerned about the care arrangements, you can contact the DoLS team to discuss your concerns further. The matter will be looked into formally and you will be informed of the action that follows.

Fact sheets

Download: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards fact sheet

Download: Mental Capacity Assessment fact sheet

Find out more information

Website: The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website (opens in a new window) provides more information about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Website: Mental capacity act 2005: deprivation of liberty safeguards (opens in a new window)

Organisations that can provide help and support

Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today.
Website: Alzheimer’s Society (opens in a new window)

Court of Protection

Court of Protection make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made they lack mental capacity?
Website: Court of Protection (opens in a new window)