Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

At Fraser Dawbarns LLP, our civil litigators have considerable experience in providing advice on deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS), and can assist you or your relative in exercising the rights and choices that everyone should have.

Deprivation of liberty can occur in many settings but the most recognisable are in a hospital setting, in a care home, or at home. There are many people who are deprived of their liberty as a result of the care or treatment they receive, and who cannot consent to these restrictions because they lack the mental capacity to do so. There are also people who are deprived of their liberty because health and social services believe it to be in their best interests to receive care in a particular environment, such as in a care home rather than in their own home.

The underlying principle of the Care Act 2014 is to promote an individual’s well-being by remaining as independent as possible for as long as possible, being allowed to remain living with a partner or spouse for as long as possible, and having a choice regarding where they live. However, things can happen unexpectedly and the decision making process, determining where an individual should receive the care they need, can move rapidly. Regrettably, the relevant government bodies do not always apply the correct checks and measures to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of individuals. In some cases this has been due to a decision being preferable to the decision maker or cheaper from a commissioning point of view.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Where there is a deprivation of liberty as a result of the implementation of a care and/or treatment package, such as a placement in a care home, the relevant authority is under an obligation to ensure that there is lawful authority for that deprivation. The starting point must be whether the arrangements made for that person are in their best interests having regard to less restrictive alternatives.

When relatives challenge the decisions made by Social Services, GP’S or Hospitals they can sometimes be accused of being unrealistic about what can be achieved in terms of care, or of not accepting what is in the best interests of their relative for financial reasons. They can feel as though they are not being listened to and in some situations feel as if they are under personal attack.

We manage negotiations with Health and Social Services regarding care packages and care plans, and can help you or your relative have a voice in the decision making process. We can assist you or your relative in exercising the rights and choices that everyone should have. We have achieved positive outcomes for vulnerable clients and as a result of our involvement have helped people to return to their own homes or to remain living with their spouse with the support they need.

If you would like further advice and support with Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, please do not hesitate to contact us today.