When working within healthcare, medical professionals may sometimes come across patients that lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about care and treatments. So it is vital you keep up to date with new training measures and laws that may change from time to time. Each month Train Healthcare will be highlighting a key course and giving you an insight on the importance of this training. This month we want to discuss the Mental Capacity Act 2005. See below for snippets on course content.
As mentioned above the Mental Capacity Act was put in place to protect individuals and is applicable to individuals aged 16 and over. The people who may fall under the umbrella of lacking capacity are as follows:
- People suffering from a severe learning disability
- People suffering a brain injury
- People who suffer from mental health issues
- People who have suffered a stroke
- People with dementia
- Or people who are unconscious due to being under anaesthetic or having been in a sudden accident
There are two stages to determining an individual’s mental capacity:
Firstly you need to question, does the individual in question have an impairment or disturbance in the functioning of their brain? This can be a factor of an illness, result of a condition or factors such as alcohol or drug use?
Secondly you would need to question, does the impairment or disturbance mean the individual is not able to make a decision then they need to? A key point to remember is that the decision needs to be specific, as individuals can lack capacity to make some decisions but do however have the capacity to make other decisions.
There is a lot you need to take into consideration when deciding an individual’s mental capacity and a number of steps must be taken to enable the individual to make the decision themselves. For instance:
- Does the individual have all the information needed for the decision?
- Have you offered them alternative information?
- Do you need to explain or perhaps present information in another way, such as using visual aids?
- Have other methods of communication been discussed?
- Would it be possible to have a family member, carer or advocate help communicate information?
The above is just a snippet of the course, book your Mental Health Act 2005 online learning module here.