An Investigation into the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards with People with Intellectual Disabilities

Kate Blamires, Rachel Forrester-Jones, Glynis Murphy

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Background: This small, qualitative study sought to develop a richer understanding of the way in which the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLS) were being used for people with intellectual disabilities. It is important to note that this study was completed prior to the changes resulting from the P v Cheshire West and Chester Council judgement. Method: Six DOLS cases were identified and two people involved in each case were interviewed (care home managers, key workers, social workers, specialist nurses or psychologists), using semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed using grounded theory techniques. Results: The interviewees described DOLS as providing a framework leading to positive outcomes for the people they supported, in some cases avoiding inpatient stays. However, they had a number of concerns including lack of knowledge and training, potential under use of DOLS and disappointment with case law. Conclusion: Overall, these findings are encouraging in regard to the specific individuals for whom DOLS applications were made; however, they also highlight the need for a stronger agenda regarding wider dissemination of information, and training about DOLS, as well as some reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-726
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


  • challenging behaviour
  • deprivation of liberty
  • learning disability
  • mental capacity
  • restriction
  • social care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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