If someone lacks the capacity to make decisions about their care, treatment and accommodation they may need to be deprived of their liberty to keep them safe. This is known as a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

A DoLS is:

  • putting someone under the deprivation of liberty safeguard to keep them safe
  • restricting someone’s freedom to give them constant supervision and care
  • for those who are in a care home or hospital for treatment but cannot make choices in their best interest.

If someone is under a DoLS, a representative will be identified. This can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • paid representative.

The representative will visit and check the person is being looked after in a way that means they are safe.

The subject of the DoLS or their representative can ask for a review from the court of protection to decide if they should be deprived of their liberty.