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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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The key learning points from this week are:

  • England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legislation relating to mental capacity.
  • All three acts are based on similar principles. Each act is a framework that enables decision making for those who lack mental capacity and that protects and empowers them to make decisions even when their decisions seem unwise to others.
  • We need to be aware that people may have different values to our own and that our own values can affect how we view other people’s mental capacity and decision making.

You should now be able to:

  • name the mental capacity law that applies to each nation of the UK
  • explain the principles of mental capacity as set out in law regardless of the UK nation to which they apply
  • describe each of the main principles of mental capacity
  • explain how the principles apply to real-life situations.

In summary, UK law lays out the principles relating to mental capacity, including those that should be followed when making decisions on someone’s behalf. But who decides whether someone has mental capacity and on what basis? It is to the subject of mental capacity assessment that you now turn.