Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Keeping people safe in a hospital or care home, can sometimes involve them being restricted or restrained. This is known as being deprived of your liberty.

About DoLS 

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) protect the rights of adults with an impairment of the mind or brain who:

  • live in a care home or hospital, but lack the mental ability to agree to stay there to receive care and/or treatment
  • have continuous supervision and control by the team providing care at the care home or hospital
  • are not free to leave the care home or hospital

The safeguards apply regardless of whether:

  • the care or treatment is funded by private or public means
  • the person objects to the restrictions or is agreeable to staying in the care home or hospital

Authorisation for a deprivation of liberty only happens if it's clear that it's:

  • necessary
  • appropriate
  • in the person's best interests

A decision will follow an assessment made by specialist staff.

It's the responsibility of hospitals and care homes to contact the local authority if they have concerns that the care arrangements for an individual amount to deprivation of liberty.

Applying for a Deprivation of Liberty authorisation

Care homes and hospitals 

To apply for a DoLS authorisation download, complete and sign the following DoLS forms from the website:

Other locations

There's a different process when authorising a deprivation of liberty for a person not staying in a hospital or a care home. An example of this is a person living in their own home with care arrangements that amount to a deprivation of liberty.

In this case, an assessor, often a social worker working with the person, applies to the Court of Protection to agree the arrangements.

If the person disagrees with the arrangements, the local authority informs the court.

Contact us

For further information or if you have any queries you can email us:

Our working hours are Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays, 9.00am to 5.00pm.