The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), referred to as 'safeguards' are part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005). They aim to protect people in care homes and hospitals from being inappropriately deprived of their liberty. The safeguards have been put in place to make sure that a care home or hospital only restricts someone's liberty safely and correctly, and that this is done when there is no other way to take care of that person safely.
The aim of the safeguards is to:
- Make sure people can be given the care they need in the least restrictive way, this means following good practice in care homes and hospitals
- Prevent decisions being made to suit the home or hospital rather than the needs of the vulnerable person
- Provide safeguards for vulnerable people
- Provide the rights to challenge unlawful detention against the person's will
Who this applies to
The safeguards apply to vulnerable people aged 18 or over in hospitals and care homes:
- who lack capacity to consent to the arrangements made for their care or treatment; and
- receive care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty, which is necessary to protect them from harm and appears to be in their best interests.
Many of these people will be:
- people with significant learning disabilities
- older people who have dementia or some similar disability
- other neurological conditions (for example as a result of a brain injury)
Policies, procedures and guidance
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a framework for making decisions on behalf of people who don't have the mental capacity to do so for themselves.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards include the following roles and responsibilities:
- Best Interest Assessor - an appropriately qualified and trained assessor who is responsible for co-ordinating the 6 assessments and deciding whether to authorise a Deprivation of Liberty
- Court of Protection - this is the special court that deals with issues relating to people who lack capacity to make specific decisions. It is also the court that can hear appeals concerning Deprivation of Liberty
- Managing Authority - this is the name for whoever has responsibility for managing the care home or hospital. It could be an individual, a company or an organisation. It is the managing authority who has to apply for an authorisation for Deprivation of Liberty.
- Relevant Person - this is a person who is, or maybe become, deprived of their liberty
- Relevant Person's Representative - this is the person appointed to keep in touch with the relevant person. They represent them in all matters relating to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. They can be a friend or family member of the relevant person, or an independent advocate. They must be independent from the care home or hospital (they must not be related to the manager or owner, or have any financial interest in the care home or hospital).
- Supervising Authority - this is the local authority (for care and nursing homes) or the Primary Care Trust (for hospitals). They have responsibility for receiving requests for deprivation of liberty authorisations, arranging for the assessments to be carried out, and where appropriate, authorising deprivation of liberty.
- Kirklees Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Multi-Agency Policy and Procedure
This document is a multi agency policy containing procedure and guidance regarding the Deprivation of Liberty for residents in care homes in Kirklees.
- Basic introduction to the Safeguards for people who work with adults
- The Kirklees Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards pathway outlines the process for assessments, reporting and links to forms to be used at each stage.
- The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: guidance to the forms
- Form 1: standard and urgent request
- Form 2: further authorisation request
- Form 3: BIA combined assessments
- Form 3A: BIA no deprivation
- Form 4: Mental Health eligibility capacity assessments
- Form 5: standard authorisation granted
- Form 6: standard authorisation not granted
- Form 7: suspension of standard authorisation
- Form 8: termination of representative
- Form 9:standard authorisation ceased
- Form 10: review request
- Form 11: IMCA referral
- Form 12: Notification of death whilst deprived of liberty
This guidance relates to the covert administration of medicines to individuals who are unable to give informed consent to treatment, and refuse to take tablets/capsules or liquid preparations when they are offered openly
These are a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity to make specific important decisions. This includes making decisions about where they live and about serious medical treatment options. IMCAs are mainly instructed to represent people where there is no one independent of services, such as a family member or friend, who is able to represent them.
The Relevant Person's Representative is the person appointed to keep in touch with the relevant person. They represent them in all matters relating to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. They can be a friend or family member of the relevant person, or an independent advocate. They must be independent from the care home or hospital (they must not be related to the manager or owner, or have any financial interest in the care home or hospital).
The relevant person's representative can:
- ask for a review if the person's situation changes, for example if they are feeling much better and their care is being changed, or if they have regained the ability to make decisions.
- make a complaint if they don't feel that good practice is being followed
- apply to the Court of Protection to check if the care being provided within the care home or hospital is legal or to challenge any decisions that have been made.
- if an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) is involved, they can provide support with a review or with an application to the Court of Protection.
Safeguarding adults training courses for partner agencies, volunteers and community organisations.