The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a legal framework to provide protection for vulnerable people accommodated in hospitals or care homes in circumstances that would amount to a deprivation of their liberty, and who are assessed as lacking the capacity to consent to their care or treatment (but are not detained under the Mental Health Act). In such cases, the DoLS authorises vulnerable people who meet this criteria to be lawfully deprived of their liberty, provided that this is in their own best interests and there is no less restrictive alternative. It is the role of the Supervisory Body to assess and decide if an authorisation to deprive someone of their liberty is appropriate and for how long. If an authorisation is granted the person to whom it applies must have a representative to safeguard their rights under the Mental Capacity Act and its Codes of Practice. This representative can be a family member or friend, however where there is no unpaid individual willing or able to accept the role, then a paid Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) will be appointed. Our RPRs are independent from the Local Authority and Supervisory Body—the hospital or care home. The Paid RPR role is completely free of charge to the person to whom the authorisation applies.
What will an RPR do?
An RPR will:
• Assist the person in understanding the authorisation and exercise their rights under the Mental Capacity Act and the Codes of Practice
• Regularly visit the person
• Call a review of the authorisation where appropriate
• Challenge the authorisation on behalf of the person to whom it applies, including referring the case to the Court of Protection.
For Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Paid Relevant Persons Representative Referrals
Should an appropriate family member or friend not be willing or able to act as a DoLSRPR, it is the responsibility of the Supervisory body that applies the authorisation to make a referral for a paid RPR.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Relevant Persons Representative) (DoLS-RPR)
A manager of a hospital or a care home may decide it is necessary to deprive someone of their liberty if that person lacks capacity, provided it is justified. Justification is established by assessing the person’s capacity and the legal criteria concerned, before this decision is made. The assessments must agree that any deprivation of liberty is appropriate and in the persons best interests. The role of a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Relevant Person’s Representative (DoLS-RPR) is to consider whether the justification outlined in each of the assessment reports still applies. The RPR is a further safeguard appointed after the assessments have taken place to review each assessment, meet regularly with the person concerned and review whether it remains appropriate for the deprivation of liberty to continue. If there has been a change in circumstances since the assessments were written, or the RPR disagrees with the justification outlined, a request can be made to review the decision. This can sometimes involve applying to the Court of Protection to look at the decision. It is therefore an important safeguard for the person concerned. The RPR will represent the views of the person throughout the authorisation at any care reviews.