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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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Well done on reaching the end of Week 4!

So, what have you learned over the last four weeks? You now know that mental capacity is simply the ability to make decisions for yourself, and that the first three principles of mental capacity legislation say that regardless of a person’s diagnosis or disability, they should be presumed to have mental capacity.

You also learned that as much support as possible should be given to a person to help them make a decision before it is decided that they lack the mental capacity to do so. These principles emphasise that assessment should be based on the process of decision making and not on the content of a decision.

You learned that what appears to be an unwise decision must not be taken as evidence that the person lacks mental capacity; nor should a person’s age, appearance, condition or behaviour affect a judgement of their mental capacity.

Finally, you looked at how to assess mental capacity using the two-stage test and who can do this.

Over the next three weeks you look at three different types of people who may lack capacity.

You should now 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.

You are now half way through the course. The Open University would really appreciate your feedback and suggestions for future improvement in our optional end-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which you will also have an opportunity to complete at the end of Week 8. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.