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When should you use Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?

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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.

They should ensure that a care home or hospital only deprives someone of their liberty in a safe way, and when there is no other way to look after them.

If a person is to be deprived of liberty, a care home must follow a strict process. This includes providing the person with a representative, giving the person or representative the right to challenge the order through the Court of Protection and a regular review of the situation.

According to a Commons Health Committee report the application of safeguards is “variable and, on many occasions, those responsible for ensuring patients are protected by them have failed to do so”.

They said: “There is considerable confusion around the scope of the safeguards and how and when to apply them in practice.

“The evidence the committee heard regarding the application of Dols revealed a profoundly depressing and complacent approach to the matter.

“There is extreme variation in their use and we are concerned that some of the most vulnerable members of society may be exposed to abuse because the legislation has failed to implement controls to properly protect them.”


Further reading How to apply Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Anonymous

    The Commons Health Committee was right, but this is probably too complex a topic for these pages.

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  • Anonymous

    patients should be looked after in appropriate facilities to start with where they have maximum freedom within a safe envriroment. Any further restrictions should be a last resort.

    now dementia is seen to be quite widespread and on the rise there need to be more care homes and wings bult to cater for their needs so that they can live their lives as normally as possible within their own limitations and not those imposed upon them by others. cf dementia village in the Netherlands. and law in Switzerland on the building of any new home or the addition of a wing or annex to an existing care home which has to have a specialised department with appropriately trained and qualified staff.

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  • eileen shepherd

    The further reading link will provide more information

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