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, but for whom receiving care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty may be necessary to protect them from harm and appears to be in their best interests.
A large number 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)