If you think someone is being deprived of their liberty
Deprivation of liberty safeguards apply to individuals who are assessed as lacking mental capacity in relation to where they live and their care and treatment arrangements.
If someone ‘lacks mental capacity’ it means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. Someone may lack mental capacity because, for example, they have:
- had a serious brain injury or illness
- learning disability
This includes individuals living in care homes, nursing homes or hospitals where decisions may need to be made for them about where and how they are treated.
These decisions are known as 'best interest' decisions and are often used to ensure that an individual is protected from harm.
What care homes and hospitals must do
Each care home, nursing home or hospital is known as the ‘managing authority’. The managing authority can issue themselves an ‘urgent authorisation’ for up to 7 days.
They must immediately ask the supervisory body for an assessment to get a full authorisation if they want to deprive someone of their liberty for longer than 7 days.
Recognise a deprivation of liberty
The supervisory body will look at all of the following when deciding if the way a person is being treated could be a deprivation of liberty:
- use of restraint - including sedation
- staff taking complete and direct control over the assessment, care, treatment and movement of a person, where they live and who they see or speak to
- would the person be stopped from leaving if they tried to leave
- refusing to discharge someone from care when asked by relatives and friends
- the person being under continuous supervision and control and not free to leave
What you can do about it
If you think you or someone you’re visiting is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation, you can take the following steps:
- Ask the managers of the care home, nursing home or hospital to refer you to the 'supervisory body' who can look at your situation to see if there has been an unauthorised deprivation of liberty.
- Write to the care home, nursing home or hospital (‘managing authority’) to ask them to apply for a ‘standard authorisation’. You can use template letter 1 on the Alzheimer's Society website.
- If the hospital or care home doesn’t apply for a standard authorisation within a few days, write to the ’supervisory body’ to ask them to look at whether there has been an unauthorised deprivation of liberty. You can use template letter 2 on the Alzheimer's Society website or you can phone us.
Community Deprivation of Liberty Authorisations
These apply to individuals who live in Supported Living, Extra Care Housing or in their own home.
If you think someone is being deprived of their liberty in Supported Living, Extra Care Housing or in their own home, write to Adult Social Care. You can use template letter 4 on the Alzheimer's Society website or contact our Customer Service Centre.
Adult Social Care Customer Service Centre
Telephone: 0116 305 0004
You’ll need to contact the supervisory body for the area where the person is ‘ordinarily resident’. This would be the supervisory body for the council which arranged the person’s care.
For example, if a person lives in a care home in Leicestershire but their care was arranged by Nottinghamshire County Council, they’ll be considered to be ordinarily resident in Nottinghamshire. If a person’s care was arranged by Leicestershire County Council but they’re living in a care home outside the county, we will be the supervisory body.
Leicestershire County Council is the supervisory body for people who are ordinarily resident in Leicestershire and Rutland.
Leicester City Council is the supervisory body for people who are ordinarily resident in Leicester City.
What happens next
The supervisory body will do the assessment within 7 or 21 days depending on how or why the authorisation has been asked for. They will then either authorise a deprivation of liberty or refuse to authorise it.
If the authorisation is refused a nurse or social worker will discuss with the person or their representative what will happen next.
Representing the person deprived of their liberty
A friend or family member may represent the person who has been deprived of their liberty. As the representative, you can:
- ask for the authorisation to be looked at again (a review) – by writing to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service for Leicestershire and Rutland. You can use template letter 4 on the Alzheimer's Society website or you can phone us
- complain on behalf of the person by contacting Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service or Leicestershire and Rutland
- apply to the Court of Protection to appeal an authorisation