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Caring for adults
Caring for adults

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3.1 Deprivation of liberty and restrictions

To start you thinking more widely about this topic and what it means for carers, take a look at this video about Tim and his desire for fish and chips.

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Working in an empowering way – fish and chips
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The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . They aim to make sure that cared-for people are looked after in a way that does not restrict their freedom more than necessary. The safeguards should ensure that this is only done when it is in the best interests of the person and there is no other way to look after them.

A recent court decision has provided a definition of what is meant by the term ‘deprivation of liberty’. A deprivation of liberty occurs when ‘the person is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave, and the person lacks capacity to consent to these arrangements’.

(Source: Alzheimer’s Society, 2016)

Any type of restriction applied within a care setting (including the person’s home) must be risk assessed and consent gained for the specific act. If someone doesn’t have capacity, and arrangements are made on their behalf, the ‘least restrictive option’ should always be chosen, especially if the restrictions used mean that carers have ‘complete and effective control’ as this could constitute a deprivation of the person’s liberty.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Read this article from the Daily Mail (2012), which gives an example of how the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards were used to ‘overprotect’ somebody.

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Although the person in question had dementia, it could not be proved that she was unable to make a decision about going on holiday.

The couple had been on many cruises in the last 20 years, so she would have an understanding of what the decision was about.

The council had been more concerned with finding ways to prevent her going on a cruise than with finding ways to make it possible.