The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) provide a legal safeguard for people who are in hospitals or care homes and are deprived of their liberty for the purpose of providing treatment or care in their best interests. The person must have a “disorder or disability of mind” as detailed in the Mental Health Act 1983 (for example dementia, learning disability) and be assessed as lacking the mental capacity to consent to these arrangements.
Deprivation of liberty is likely to occur when the person has little or no choice about their life within the care home or hospital and is not free to leave and is under continuous supervision and continuous control by the staff and their care plan.
The hospital/care home (the Managing Authority) applies to the Local Authority for a 'standard' authorisation for a deprivation of liberty. The supervisory body must assess each individual situation and agree or refuse the authorisation.