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What are Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)?

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are an amendment to The Mental Capacity Act 2005, and they say that people must be cared for in the least restrictive way for their own protection and in their best interests. For any deprivation of liberty to be lawful, care homes and hospitals must make a request to the council for a formal assessment about whether depriving someone of their liberty is necessary.

Sometimes there are less restrictive ways of keeping someone safe, and Kent County Council will always try to find those ways.

A restriction on someone amounts to a Deprivation of Liberty if:

  • they are subject to continuous supervision and control
  • they are not free to leave – with the focus being not on whether a person seems to be wanting to leave, but on how those who support them would react if they did want to leave.

A Deprivation of Liberty assessment should also be considered if any of the following are happening:

  • frequent use of sedation or medication to control behaviour
  • regular use of physical restraint to control behaviour
  • the person concerned objects verbally or physically to the restriction or restraint
  • there are objections from family or friends to the restriction or restraint
  • the person is confined to a particular part of the establishment in which they are being cared for
  • the person is already subject to a Deprivation of Liberty authorisation which is about to expire.

Any deprivation that is authorised by the council will be for as short a time as possible. The maximum period would be 12 months. If someone is living somewhere other than a care home or hospital and may need to be deprived of their liberty, the Court of Protection need to authorise this.

When are Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) used?

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are only used where it is absolutely necessary to prevent harm to someone and Kent County Council will always look for the least restrictive way, to ensure they have as much control over their lives as possible. Care homes and hospitals should always consider least restrictive alternatives for the care they provide. Where this is not possible, an application for Deprivation of Liberty authorisation must be made.

Last updated: 14/03/2022