Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

DoLS are an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Depending on a person’s needs, they may need to be restricted in their daily lives in ways which most of us are not. This applies to care home, hospital, and supported living care settings.

This may mean that a person is not free to leave where they live as they would be extremely vulnerable without support, and so locks are placed on external doors of the home. Other examples of restrictions include lap straps on wheelchairs, cot-side rails on beds, lifting hoists etc.

Each of these restrictions must be documented through 6 assessments before an authorisation is granted. Local Authority (Council) DoLS teams authorise restrictions in care home and NHS settings, whilst the Court of Protection (CoP) authorise restrictions in Supported Living settings.

These restrictions must be reviewed every 12 months or sooner if required, to make sure they are still relevant and are the least restrictive method of supporting that person.

If a standard authorisation is granted, the person has someone appointed with legal powers to represent them. This is called the Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) and will usually be a family member or friend. If no person can be found, a Paid RPR will be appointed.