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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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Week 4: Assessing mental capacity

Introduction

Before the mental capacity legislation, the assessment of whether a person had mental capacity and whether they could make their own decisions or would need another person to do so on their behalf was made by a professional, usually a doctor. This has now changed. The person who should do the assessment for everyday decisions is usually the adult most directly involved with the person at the time. This could be a family member or a paid carer. For bigger decisions such as those involving aspects of medical treatment, the doctor or other healthcare worker who will be providing that treatment is usually the assessor. This week, you undertake an assessment of mental capacity step by step through a case study. But first, how does a mental capacity assessment relate to other assessments in care settings?

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • explain what is meant by the assessment of mental capacity
  • describe who undertakes an assessment of mental capacity
  • describe the test for assessing mental capacity and how it is applied
  • describe how an assessment might be undertaken.