Identifying a deprivation of liberty in the hospice or palliative setting: quick reference guide

This guide explains the factors you should take into account when identifying a deprivation of liberty in a hospice or palliative care setting.

Questions for frontline staff

These questions may help establish whether an individual is deprived of their liberty in this context: 

  • What liberty-restricting measures are being taken? 
  • When are they required?  How often do these occur, and for how long?  
  • For what period will they endure? 
  • What are the effects on P of any restraint or restrictions? 
  • What are the views of the person, their family or carers? 
  • How are any restraints or restrictions to be applied? 
  • Is force or restraint (including sedation) being used to admit the patient to a hospital or hospice to which the person is resisting admission? 
  • Is force being used to prevent a patient leaving the place?   
  • Are they persistently trying to leave? 
  • Is the patient prevented from leaving by distraction, locked doors, restraint, or because they are led to believe that they would be prevented from leaving if they tried? 
  • Is access to the patient by relatives or carers being substantially restricted? 
  • Is the decision to admit the patient being opposed by relatives or carers who live with the patient? 
  • Has a relative or carer asked for the person to be discharged to their care and is the request opposed or has it been denied? 
  • Are the patient’s movements restricted within the care setting?  To what extent?  How is this done? How often does this happen, and for how long?   
  • Are family, friends or carers, prevented from moving the patient to another care setting or prevented from taking them out at all (even for a short period)? 
  • Is the patient prevented from going outside the place where they are being cared for (escorted or otherwise)? 
  • Are the patient’s behaviour and movements being controlled through the regular use of medication or physical or environmental measures, for example seating from which the patient cannot get up, or by raised bed rails that prevent the patient leaving their bed? 
  • Do staff exercise complete control over the care and movement of the person for a significant period? 
  • Is the patient constantly monitored and observed throughout the day and night?
Find out more

Our guidance on the law relating to deprivation of liberty helps solicitors and people working in health and social care to identify when a deprivation of liberty may be taking place.

Explore the full guidance

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