DOLS: They Certainly Aren’t Child’s Play
Incidents of a Deprivation of Liberty are on the increase. Often, these are used to detain people in a hospital or place them in a care home despite the person in question (“the Patient”) not consenting, or being unable to consent, to the same.
Such an application can only be made by a hospital or care home to the Local Authority and this can be a standard application or an urgent one. If standard, there are six assessments to be undertaken. There are Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) in respect to the same, but the Patient would be best advised to be represented to ensure their use.
Other Applicants use the Court of Protection and a referral to this Court can be of assistance not only regarding the challenge itself but, once the Court of Protection is brought in to play, it has very wide powers to review other matters such as the persons’ capacity and their “best interests” as well as the lawfulness of any act done or yet to be done in relation to the Patient.
Often, the application will be streamlined by the authority making the application. However, it is normally advisable to stop this streamlining which can be done in a number of ways, i.e. by contesting the matter or by the Patient objecting. In this way it enables representation to be put in place for the Patient, or their family, so to ensure that all the correct procedure is being followed and safe guarding measures for the Patient are in place.
Another ground on which the streamlining can be halted is if there is a potential conflict with any Advance Decision the Patient has in place or if a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is in place in which there is specific guidance as to what the Patient wants to happen in these circumstances. Therefore, having these documents prepared earlier, in happier times, is of upmost importance. We can deal with both of these for you.
This is a complex area and if you or any member of your family face this scenario you will probably require representation with which we can assist.
Author: Jane Sullivan