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

DoLS means restricting a person’s freedom to leave the care home, hospital or certain other types of accommodation. This happens if the person lacks the mental ability to make decisions on their living and care arrangements and they need to be under continuous supervision so that they are at reduced risk of harm.  An example would be stopping a person leaving a care home because they may get hurt.

In these circumstances, the place looking after the person must apply to the Council to have this deprivation authorised as it in the person's best interests. In certain circumstances, the application may need to be made to the Court of Protection. For more information, please visit 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.

If an 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 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 investigated formally, and you will be informed of the action that follows.

Find out more information

Download Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards fact sheet

Download Mental Capacity Assessment fact sheet

Mental capacity act 2005: deprivation of liberty safeguards (GOV.UK website, opens in a new window)

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)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides more information about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

Website: The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website (opens in a new window)