Helping primary care to support people with dementia

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

March 5 2014

This factsheet published by the Alzheimer’s Society explains the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), which are part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. It also outlines the process for getting authorisation for a deprivation of liberty and how to get it reviewed.

Download Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards factsheet

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) aim to make sure that people in care homes and hospitals are looked after in a way that does not inappropriately restrict their freedom.

The safeguards should ensure that a care home or hospital only deprives someone of their liberty in a safe and correct way, and that this is only done when it is in the best interests of the person and there is no other way to look after them.

Key points

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply to people over the age of 18 who:

  • require medication or restraint to keep them in hospitals or care homes (but not to keep them in other locations such as their own home)
  • are unable to make decisions for themselves (under the Mental Capacity Act 2005)
  • are not detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Practitioners must ensure that the person’s deprivation of liberty (by the act of detaining them in a hospital or care home) is lawful.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards should be made in writing by the registered manager of the care home or hospital (i.e. not a clinician).

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