Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

These safeguards apply to people:

  • aged 18 and over
  • in hospitals or care homes
  • who lack the mental capacity to decide to be there

People likely to be affected are those with learning disabilities, or elderly people with dementia, but also a minority of other people who lack capacity to consent to whether they receive care or treatment.

Key features

  • hospitals and care homes have to identify the restrictions that they need to have in place to keep someone safe
  • if these restrictions (when added together) amount to a deprivation of liberty the hospital or care home must request an authorisation from the supervisory body
  • the supervisory body is Hounslow Council
  • it is unlawful for a hospital or care home to deprive a person of liberty without obtaining an authorisation

Definition of a deprivation of liberty

If the person is:

  • not free to leave and
  • subject to continuous supervision and control and
  • "imputable to the state" - i.e. is there direct involvement of public authorities in the individual’s detention?

They will most likely be deprived of liberty.

Many people in hospitals and care homes may have their liberty restricted but not all will be deprived of their liberty

A deprivation of liberty can happen in any setting

Someone could be cared for in their own home in circumstances that are the same as described above or this could happen in supported housing.

The deprivation of liberty safeguards cannot be used to authorise this practice and an application to the Court of Protection should be made. If this situation occurs you can get initial advice from Hounslow Safeguarding Adults Service

Notifying others

The Care Quality Commission has issued guidance for providers of registered care and treatment services. When an initial application for a standard or urgent authorisation is made, the care home or hospital must notify the CQC.

Once the outcome of the application is known, the care home or hospital must notify CQC again with the outcome. Forms and guidance for providers about making statutory notifications are available at


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