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Support Sheet 12: Mental Capacity Act (2005)
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Support Sheet 12: Mental Capacity Act (2005)

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Support Sheet 12: Mental Capacity Act (2005) …

Support Sheet 12: Mental Capacity Act (2005)
This support sheet outlines the main provisions of the Mental Capacity Act the four tests essential for assessing capacity

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  • 1. Support sheet 12 Mental Capacity Act (2005) 1. A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity. 2. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success. 3. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision. 4. An act done or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests. 5. Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action. Making an unwise or illogical decision are not by themselves indications of a lack of capacity. Therefore, the only two factors that could suggest a lack of capacity are the presence of an impairment or disturbance of mind or brain. Assessing capacity If it is suspected that a person has an impairment of mind or brain, then a carer must test for capacity. All four tests should be done and results recorded 1. Can they understand the information? NB. this must be imparted in a way the patient can understand 2. Can they retain the information? NB. This only needs to be long enough to use and weigh the information 3. Can they use or weigh up that information? NB. They must be able to show that they are able to consider the benefits and burdens to the proposed treatment and the alternatives 4. Can they communicate their decision? NB. The carers must try every method possible to enable this Please Note: cognitive function tests (e.g. knowing date and place, or counting backwards) do not test capacity. Being able to have a conversation or speaking clearly tells you nothing about a person’s capacity, especially as the MCA is clear that the responsibility is on the carer to enable the patient to communicate their wishes. Further information http://www.dca.gov.uk/legal-policy/mental-capacity/mca-cp.pdf Published April 2010

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