Deprivation of liberty

Some hospital patients and care home residents may need to be deprived of their liberty for treatment or care. 

If you are not able to make your own decisions about being in hospital or a care home, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) will help keep you safe with as much freedom as possible.  

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards make sure only those who lack capacity have their choices restricted and ensure that they are left with as much freedom as possible.  

DoLS will apply if: 

  • You lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions about your hospital or care home stay.
  • Other people (such as the hospital/care home staff) are making decisions about how you spend your day (what time meals are, when you take medication etc.)
  • You were to try to leave, you would be stopped for your own safety. 

How does it work? 

The hospital or care home has to ask Salford City Council to approve the deprivation of liberty. We will assess the situation: your ability to make decisions; and the restrictions the hospital or care home want to use. 

If you do not have the ability to make decisions and there are as few restrictions as possible, then we have to approve the DoLS. 

What does it mean in practice? 

Generally, people don't see any difference. Family and friends can usually still take you out and you will continue to be able to do the things you enjoy, if these don't cause you harm. 

DoLS are part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and they strengthen the rights of hospital patients and those in care homes, as well as ensuring compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 

The safeguards are designed to:  

  • make sure people can be given the care they need with the least restrictions
  • make sure that staff who decide to deprive vulnerable people of their liberty have a set process to go through
  • provide safeguards for vulnerable people
  • provide vulnerable people (and their carers) with the right to challenge unlawful detention 

You can find out more about DoLS below, or on our DoLS page for professionals

Advocacy can help if you think DoLS may apply to you but you want some support to understand it all.

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