The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards concern individuals in hospitals and care homes who may need to be deprived of their liberty in order to protect them from serious harm.
DOLS do not apply if a person is detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.
However, they do apply if a person is subject to Section 7 of the Mental Health Act (Guardianship).
Under DOLS, registered care homes and hospitals are called ‘managing authorities’.
Care homes and hospitals have responsibility for preventing unnecessary deprivations of liberty.
They must also recognise if a person is deprived of their liberty or if a deprivation of liberty is likely to happen.
Care homes will need to provide additional support to residents who lack the mental capacity to make a decision for themselves. Where they believe a person in their care may be deprived of their liberty, care homes and hospitals are responsible for granting themselves an ‘urgent authorisation’ and applying to the relevant supervisory body for a ‘standard authorisation’, using the standard forms available from the Department of Health:
Supreme Court Judgements
On March 2014, the Supreme Court handed down its judgement in the case of “P v Cheshire West and Chester Council” and another “P and Q v Surrey County Council”
The Supreme Court has confirmed that to determine whether a person is objectively deprived of their liberty there are two key questions to ask, which they describe as the “acid test”:
This now means that if a person is subject both to continuous supervision and control and not free to leave they are deprived of their liberty.
The following factors are no longer relevant to this:
The person’s compliance or lack of objection
The relative normality of the placement and
The reason or purpose behind a particular placement
The Judgement is significant in determining whether arrangements made for the care and/or treatment of an individual lacking capacity to consent to those arrangements amount to a deprivation of liberty.
Who does DOLS apply to?
DOLS applies to anyone…
Aged 18 and over
Who suffers from a mental disorder or disability of the mind – such as dementia or a profound learning disability
Who lacks the capacity to consent to the arrangements made for their care or treatment
For whom receiving care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty may be necessary to protect them from harm