Changes to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and what they mean for clinical practice

290426387_7c1de63f94_zSarah Goldberg is Associate Professor in older persons care at the University of Nottingham; Rowan Harwood is Professor of geriatric medicine at Nottingham University Hospital; Adam Gordon is Honorary Secretary of the British Geriatrics Society and a consultant geriatrician

Health care professionals in England and Wales, have been slightly Janus-faced about Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) since the roll-out in response to the Bournewood judgement in 2008.

On one hand they have been seen as an important adjunct to the 2005 Mental Capacity Act, protecting vulnerable patients from the worst vagaries of best interest assessments. On the other hand, they are considered logistically burdensome, generating both additional paperwork and workload for hard-pressed health and social care professionals.

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