Mental Capacity Act 2005
The purpose of the Act is to empower and protect people who are unable to make some or all decisions for themselves, because they lack mental capacity. The Act applies to people who are 16 years old and over.
Mental capacity is not a blanket decision, for example some people may be able to make decisions about social activities but not complicated decisions about their healthcare
Here are some examples of why people lack mental capacity:
- A severe learning disability
- A brain injury
- A mental health condition
- A stroke
- A state of being unconscious due to an accident or anaesthetic
If after providing appropriate support someone lacks capacity to make an important decision, the Act states that a decision should be made in their Best Interests. In this situation, the least restrictive options should be taken and the individual should have an Independent Mental Capacity Act (IMCA) advocate appointed to ensure their views are heard.
Five guiding principles:
- Presume capacity
- Do all you can to support the individual to make their own decisions
- Do not conclude that an individual lacks capacity because they make unwise decisions
- If the person lacks capacity you must act in their Best Interests
- Always choose the least restrictive option
You can find useful information below
Professionals, if you are unsure – contact the MCA and DoLS Manager for advice:
Call: 01375 659810
Advocacy service for Thurrock
Telephone: 0300 456 237
Write to: PO Box 14043, Birmingham, B6 9BL
Further information and support
Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has an excellent resource to help to raise awareness about the MCA and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The information is useful people who may be subject to restrictions under the Act and professionals too.
Below you will also find a video to help you best understand the The Mental Capacity Act or you can view it here.