Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) provides protection for vulnerable people who are accommodated in hospital or a care home in circumstances that amount to deprivation of their liberty and lack the capacity to consent to the care or treatment they need.
The Supreme Court made a landmark judgement on March 19 2014 about changes to the meaning of deprivation of liberty. For more information on these changes see the letter from the Department of Health [PDF].
What to do if someone is being deprived of their liberty?
If you are a resident in a care home or in hospital and you feel that you are being deprived of your liberty you can ask the managers to refer you for an assessment of your situation.
If you believe that someone else is being deprived of their liberty without proper authority the Mental Capacity Act 2005 allows you to ask the hospital or care home to request a standard authorisation, which you can do by writing them a letter. You can download our template for a letter to managing authority concerning unauthorised deprivation of liberty [Word].
If the hospital or care home does not request a standard authorisation you can write to the supervising body to ask whether or not there is an unauthorised deprivation of liberty. You can download our template letter to supervisory body concerning unauthorised deprivation of liberty [Word].
When a deprivation of liberty is authorised it will set out when and how certain restrictions can be used. There must be an allocated representative for someone who is subject to an authorised deprivation of liberty.
When a deprivation of liberty is in place it can be reviewed at any point. The supervising body must carry out a review if one is requested by the person being deprived of their liberty, their representative, or by the hospital or care home where they are staying.
If you want to request a review you can do this by writing a letter to the supervising body requesting a review [Word]. If you are representative of a person being deprived of their liberty you can write a letter to the supervising body requesting a review from the representative [Word].
Court of protection
In some cases you may not agree with a deprivation of liberty or some of the condition surrounding it. In these case you should first speak to the care home or hospital or request a review. In the event that these routes have been tried you can make an application to the Court of Protection.
Further information about the Court of Protection and how to make an application can be found on the GOV.UK website.
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