Deprivation of Liberty?

Hi everyone, we had a visit from our social worker, who is very nice. In conversation I mentioned that I lock up and take the key out of the front and back door at night time, I do this for 2 reasons:

1 My husband and I have always done this he used to be really really security conscious before his injury.

2 It gives me reassurance that he cant just get out of bed, open the door and leave in the middle of the night without me knowing. He tends to try this when he is unwell with an infection and s disorientated and confused.

The social worker said that it could well be an issue as I could be seen to be depriving him of his liberty, even though the reason I’m doing it is understood and advice was needed from the DoLs team. Potentially they would have to go to the CoP for a ruling.

He reassured me it wasn’t anything to worry about, but that said I am a little worried! Should I be concerned?

Hi Cheechee.

Deprivation of Liberty ?

Not a nice subject but … full sp on the Alzheimers Society site :

Full explanation and background for you to consider.

Just one section that might have triggered the SW’s concern :


Not free to leave

If a person is not free to leave the place where they are being cared for, they may be deprived of their liberty. It is important to note that this can be hypothetical. The person may not be physically able to leave by themselves, but the question is still the same – if they tried to leave, would they be stopped? If the answer is yes – ie they did not consent to this care and are not free to leave – then they are being deprived of their liberty.

In the scenario so outlined , a case of … interpretation ?

Thanks Chris I can see why it’s a very subjective issue.

In all the time I’ve been with my husband he’s told me to never leave any keys in doors. His rational was it’s not the burglars getting in that’s the problem it’s that they want a nice easy escape when they’re finished so keys were never to be in doors or on view! Hard to get out of that habit after years and years for having that ‘drummed’ in.

I can see that it looks like a DoL but l suppose that’s where it’s open to interpretation? Say, hypothetically, he has a raging infection and wants to leave the house at 3am in the middle of winter with nothing but his pyjamas on, without me knowing… what’s in his best interest a locked door or a stint in hospital with hypothermia?

Difficult one

Your welcome , Cheechee.

Social Care law is full of … shoulds / woulds / coulds … a straight yes / no hardly appears.

As such , leads directly to the dreaded postcode lottery … in interpretation.


Only an idiot would NOT lock the doors at night!

Whether to leave the key in or out is a different issue, there are advantages and disadvantages.
If out, then it needs to be easily accessible in case of fire.
In all honesty anyone, resident or burglar, can get out of a ground floor window!

We have alarms on all downstairs external doors now so perhaps I’ll lock the doors, put the alarm on and leave the key in the door from now on. Even though it goes against my instincts!


Ooooh I hadn’t thought what the insurance company might say about it… I must check my policy!

It’s common sense not to leave doors unlocked or keys in locks, plus the police advise it.

What basic steps can I take to protect my home?

First, think about basic good housekeeping routines that aren’t expensive.

Many thieves are actually opportunists who do not have to break in at allbecause a door or window has been left open or unlocked. > Keep your home securely locked at all times.
Don’t leave keys on the inside of door locks, under mats or anywhere else an intruder may easily find them.
Don’t put your name or room number on your keyring if you live in shared accommodation. If it is lost or stolen, the thief will have information that could direct them to your home and your property.
Don’t keep house keys and car keys on the same key ring.
Avoid keeping large amounts of cash in the house. If you must then disperse it in various locations.
Security mark your property with a UV marker pen. You can use this pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house number on your possessions…

In future, just be careful to say you keep the doors and windows locked and keys put away to prevent crime (and leave out the bit about hubby.) DOLS is a good thing in that it should prevent people being locked in/ restrained/detained without proper safeguards in place, but unfortunately sometimes common sense doesn’t prevail. I bet the social worker locks his/her doors at night! We don’t have Yale locks and I keep our doors locked ever since an intruder snuck in the backdoor and stole my handbag!


These sweeping statements from social workers etc really get my goat :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: :frowning:
If she mentions it again throw back at her that you are in fact safeguarding your vulnerable person from wandering!!!
If she really want him under 24/7 watch then they can pay for it

She’ll soon back off

I think the moral here for those who are reading is to be careful what you say in front of social workers. I remember saying something along the lines of “no one is getting their hands on the house” and it seemed to be a red rag to a bull. Be very careful before you open your mouths when talking to social workers!!!

I was thinking about this and before I married my husband I lived alone and had a break in, this was years ago. I remember the police sent round a crime prevention officer and now that I think about it he basically he said the same thing, lock doors, keep keys out of sight, buy light timers etc.

Not sure what will happen now SW is going back to ask advice from DoLs team so don’t know if theyll come out or phone me? I think I’ll wait and see what they say but mention the advise that was given by the police.

I thought I was being sensible, a few years ago (when the key was in the door) hubby got out when I was upstairs changing the bed. I didn’t realise until I came downstairs 10 minutes later that he had gone… anyway the upshot all the neighbours were all out looking for him little did we all know someone had called the police, because they were concerned as he was wandering. The police brought him back. I thought at the time lesson learned!!!

Can’t win!

I remember watching a crime prevention program and they showed you how a burglar used a fishing rod to pick up car keys that had been left on the stairs and then drove the car away. Surely it is just sensible to keep keys with you in the bedroom.
I really can’t see it being an issue, plenty of people who are not mobile enough to get to the front door live alone and have carers coming and going using a keybox.

Without going into it too much I’ve had years of being told don’t leave the keys in the door, put your money in your purse before you leave the ATM etc I live in a family who all work in the emergency services so have heard all the horror stories over the years.

I understand that safeguarding is in place to look after the vulnerable, but surely common sense has to have a say! I would have thought that by doing this I was putting his best interest first and doing it only to look after him?!?!?

Hahaha I need to learn to think before I speak.

I make sure my doors are locked at night, but I always made sure My Mum knew exactly where the front door key was. Placed in full view on our table incase she needed to get out in an emergency. Along with a Personal alarm in case of the worse happening.

For a Social Worker to suggest this is deprivation of living is shocking to say the least, I wonder if he is new and trying to prove to his new employers “how on the ball he is”. Tell him you’ll leave the front door open on the condition he will take the responsibility of any theft, also tell him you want to speak to a superior.

I have been asked about whether S is free to leave when he wants to and what I would do if he just wanted to go out. (S isn’t able to cross roads safely, would run into a road if startled by a loud sound or encountered dog off a lead/on a long extended lead.) I have done DOLs training as part of my work, so like Henrietta says, I’m careful what I say. I say I do keep our doors locked as we had an intruder and ask them if they keep their doors locked. I always qualify and say S knows where the keys are - he does - he has no desire to go out alone - but if you told hubby where the keys were kept - you couldn’t be blamed for him not being able to remember!


That’s a good point Melly.
Different in a way but when I obtained the court of protection details, believe it or not I was told to show hubby! Well I did, said I’ve had this letter come through. Then distracted him!! A copy is in his wardrobe, sealed envelope, signed by me and the manager. Its not my fault that he wouldn’t understand. Hence COP!!
Safeguarding our loved ones is priority.

I explained to hubby that when he is unwell he sometimes wants to leave the house in the early hours of the morning and I have been taking the key out if the door (as I always have). I asked him if he wanted me to leave the key in the door and his reply… “No it’s not safe”

SW opinion is hubby lacks capacity to make that decision, to me it’s clear hubbyvunderstood what the question was and answered accordingly?

Oh for goodness sake, the SW is nuts!! She thinks hubby lacks capacity to make a decision on whether or not the key should be left in the door, but has sufficient capacity to be able to make the decision to let himself out and wander around in the dark and cold at night … Meanwhile, as this SW wastes time debating this with the DOLs team … the list of those awaiting a social care assessment gets ever longer.