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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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The main learning points of this week are that:

  • Mental capacity is defined as the ability to make decisions.
  • Mental capacity relates to a particular decision, at a particular time. The decision can be an everyday matter such as what to wear or a more significant matter such as where to live.
  • When a person is judged to be unable to make a decision for themselves they are said to lack mental capacity.
  • Everyone needs to understand the concept of mental capacity because even if you and your loved ones have mental capacity at the moment, it’s quite possible this will change.
  • People may lack mental capacity due to dementia, mental health problems, learning disabilities, brain injuries, substance misuse, illness or treatment of illness.
  • A person’s mental capacity can fluctuate from day to day.

You should now be able to:

  • define mental capacity
  • explain why understanding mental capacity is important and for whom
  • describe mental capacity in terms of time and decision making.

Next week, you look at the central theme of mental capacity: decision making.