Deprivation of Liberty Applications
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards or "DOLS" is designed to ensure that the liberty of a person who lacks legal capacity is protected by a rigorous procedure so that if they are detained there are proper checks to ensure that the detention is lawful. Any care provider in a care home or hospital must be aware of the fact that the Patient may be being deprived of their liberty, in which case they will need to apply to have the deprivation of liberty authorised.
The primary recognition is the issue of capacity and that 'just because someone has a diagnosed mental illness does not mean that they lack the mental capacity to make many, if not all, decisions about their lives including where they live and how they want to live' (name of book, (p. 23) chapter 3 'Mental illness and loss of capacity' - -Introduction'). However in some cases, people lack the capacity to consent to particular treatment or care that is recognised by others as being in their best interests, or which will protect them from harm. It has been a challenge to define 'deprivation of liberty' and all cases will be different. The deprivation of liberty applications apply in this situation.
• People with diagnosed mental illness may have mental capacity to make decisions about their lives including where they live and how they want to live.
• In some cases, people lack the capacity to consent to particular treatment or care that is recognised by others as being in their best interests, or which will protect them from harm.
• When this care might involve depriving vulnerable people of their liberty (i.e. taking their freedom away) in either a hospital or a care home, extra safeguards have been introduced in law to protect their rights and ensure that the care or treatment they receive is in their best interests.
• Sometimes it will be appropriate, indeed necessary to restrain a vulnerable person from doing certain things. Any decision to deprive someone of their liberty is unlawful unless it has been authorised from the outset.
• Anyone considering applying for authorisation must think carefully as to whether it is in fact needed; there may be other less restrictive ways in which care and treatment can be given to the person which does not create a deprivation of liberty.