Deprivation of liberties safeguards
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These safeguards (DoLs) relate to adults who are 18 years or over and who are being cared for in registered care homes or hospitals, who have a mental disorder and lack the mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment plan and to whom care or treatment has to be given in such a way that it amounts to a ‘deprivation of liberty’ for that person.
A person is likely to be deprived of their liberty in the following circumstances:
- They are not free to leave the care home or hospital
- They are being subject to continuous supervision and control
- They lack the capacity to consent to these arrangements
Anyone managing a care home or hospital who thinks that someone is having to be cared for in a way that deprives them of their liberty can apply to the local authority where the person is ordinarily resident for the deprivation of liberty to be legally authorised. The local authority will be responsible for arranging for the person to have a number of assessments before deciding whether or not to grant that authorisation.
One of these assessments will be a ‘best interests’ assessment to establish if the care or treatment does amount to a deprivation of liberty, and if so if it is in the person’s best interests and necessary to prevent harm to them. This assessment will have to be carried out by a specially trained best interests assessor (BIA). This person is independent of any planning or decision-making about the person’s care or treatment.
Relatives and other people close to the person have to be consulted during the assessment process. In some circumstances a special advocate may have to be involved or a paid representative appointed, or both. If the deprivation of liberty is authorised, this will be for a specified and limited period of time, after which the situation has to be reassessed if the deprivation of liberty is to continue to be lawful.
- Department of Health briefing sheet on DoLS
- Deprivation of liberty safeguards: A guide for relevant person’s representatives
- Mental Capacity Act 2005 deprivation of liberty safeguards: A guide for family, friends and unpaid carers
Relevant person’s representative
Within this service, we would represent a person who has been deprived of their liberty after a decision has been made to do so in their best interests. We would ensure that the reasons for the deprivation are still relevant and that any measures that are put in place to support the deprivation are being carried out.
What can I do if I believe that someone is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation within a care home or hospital?
1. If you believe that someone within a care home or hospital is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation, you may request that a standard authorisation takes place. In the first instance, please write to the relevant hospital or care home where the person is resident. You can use this standard letter deprivation of liberty letter – one.
2. If you have contacted the relevant care home or hospital and have not received a satisfactory response, you may write to the DoLS office (please see details below) highlighting your concerns using the following standard letter. You can use this standard letter deprivation of liberty letter – two.
What if I (or someone I know) am subject to a deprivation of liberty authorisation and I wish for the authorisation to be reviewed?
3. If you are currently subject to a deprivation of liberty authorisation and wish to have this reviewed, please write to the DoLS office. You can use this standard letter deprivation of liberty letter – three.
4. Alternatively if you are a relevant person’s representative and wish to request a review of a standard authorisation that has been issued, you may use this standard letter deprivation of liberty letter – four and forward to the DoLS office.
I’m concerned about a person being deprived of their liberty but they’re not in a care home or hospital. What should I do?
5. Deprivation of liberty can sometimes be authorised in other settings such as supported living or adult foster placements. For advice on what to do please contact us.
Advocacy Project are available for consultation and guidance for all care homes in Hackney or to come and present to your team on their role and responsibilities:
The Advocacy Project, 115 Mare Street, London E8 4RU. Advocacy referral number: 0203 960 7920, office number: 0203 960 7910. email@example.com