How Confident Is Your Organisation in Making DoLS Judgements?

There’s little doubt that applying Deprivation of Liberty Standards (DoLS) is one of the most sensitive aspects of social care. Effectively it’s balancing a duty to protect vulnerable people against their freedom to make decisions and their human rights. These can be highly nuanced judgements.

Lack of understanding (or maybe well-intentioned over-cautious application) of DoLS and the Mental Capacity Act was highlighted as a significant issue in the most recent State of Care Report. The report noted that ‘conditions attached to a DoLS authorisation are not always implemented.’ 

As a result, clients might miss out on visits to relatives or a place of worship, meaning that the authorisation would no longer represent their best interests.

Different Interpretations

More than any other area of social care DoLS is about making a judgement rather than applying firm rules or guidelines. Perhaps it’s not surprising that providers approach the issue in different ways and with different outcomes.

What also hasn’t helped was the suggestion of DoLS changing to Liberty Protection Safeguards. Despite having Royal Assent in 2019 – unfinished consultation means this is still not a reality. 

If the LPS happens it will be after the next general election. So definite changes to the legislation probably won’t happen before 2025 at the earliest and that the whole issue is likely to be reviewed again anyway. 

Improve Understanding and Confidence

The best advice is to deal with what we know and improve competence around the current requirements. Make sure staff are up to date with their understanding and that Care Managers equip their staff with the right tool set to allow them to be competent. 

Here are links to courses you might find helpful: 

If you have any questions or concerns about equipping your organisation to make better informed decisions in this sensitive area, please get in touch or see our range of articles, posts and downloads available in our Resource Centre or book a Demo.

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