Social care, eligibility and assessments

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Professionals working in a hospital, residential home, nursing home or hospice must determine whether people who live in these establishments are, or might be, being deprived of their liberty.

Professionals need to ask:

  1. Does the resident have an impairment of the mind or brain?
  2. Are there any questions about whether that person has the mental capacity to consent to remain there and receive care, support or treatment? (For example, they could be forgetful, unrealistic about their abilities, confused or not sure where they are, or simply non-communicative. This isn't an exhaustive list.)

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then the hospital, residential home, nursing home or hospice must complete a DoLS authorisation request and inform the person and their supporters (family and friends) about what is being done and why.

DoLS authorisation request

The test for identifying whether a person is being deprived of their liberty is called the 'acid test', which is described below:

  1. Is the person under continuous supervision and control? For example, are there people on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the purpose of providing care, support or treatment? (note: this doesn't mean it has to be one-to-one care, but one-to-one support is counted)
  2. Is the person free to leave? In reality, if the person attempted to leave (or if they cannot walk, asked to leave) would they be allowed to leave unsupervised, or if they cannot walk would they be taken to wherever they wish to go?

We have listed the form types and when they should be used below (see ADASS guidance for a more detailed explanation of each form):

  • urgent and standard authorisation: all new applications where a person is currently thought to be deprived of their liberty

Urgent and standard authorisation 

  • standard authorisation: when planning to move a person to a place where they may be deprived of their liberty

Standard authorisation

  • extension of a urgent authorisation: for cases where the relevant assessments have not been completed during the 7-day urgent authorisation period

Extension of a urgent authorisation

  • request for a further standard authorisation​: when a standard authorisation is one month away from expiry

Request for a further standard authorisation

  • review authorisation form: if a person's circumstances change within a DoLS authorisation period

Complete a review authorisation form

If the notice period is missed, complete an urgent and standard authorisation form.

Urgent and standard authorisation 

Page last updated: 09 Mar 2020