Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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Understanding mental capacity

1.2 Mental capacity and organisations: differences and similarities

A number of agencies offer advice and support to people who may lack mental capacity and to those who care for them.

Activity 2 Organisations and their understanding of mental capacity

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Go to the websites of the three organisations listed below and:

  • try to find out what the organisation’s role is
  • type ‘mental capacity’ into the organisation’s search box and find out how they explain it and what advice they give. Is this different between the three organisations? If so, does it relate to the people they support?

Use the table below to record what you find.

Organisation and its role

How it defines mental capacity and the information it provides

 

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Comment

You may have noticed that organisations choose slightly different forms of words when describing their role. Agencies such as the Alzheimer’s Society apply the ideas and principles of mental capacity to the people they support, i.e. those with Alzheimer’s disease and the people who care for them. The organisation Sense provides support and information, including on mental capacity, for people who are deaf and blind. Carers UK support a range of people who care, including children.

You might have noticed that all organisations use similar definitions of mental capacity and they all refer to the legislation that applies to this area. The legislation is both important and useful, as it supports and protects people who lack capacity and outlines who can make decisions on their behalf and how. The underpinning principles of the legislation provide support for determining whether someone has capacity and for the process of making decisions on their behalf if they do not.

In England and Wales, the legislation is the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different legislation. You will look at these and the differences between them in Week 3.

So far, you have looked at three different organisations and their role in supporting people who may lack mental capacity. You are now going to explore another two organisations.

Activity 3 Who is concerned with mental capacity?

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Take a look through the list below to get a sense of the range of organisations and people for whom mental capacity is relevant. Then choose two organisations, perhaps one that you are not familiar with and one that you were surprised to see in this list.

Visit to their websites using the links below and search for ‘mental capacity’. See how they define it and what sort of information they offer. Use the table below to record your notes if you would find that useful. These notes will help you when you reflect on the learning you have done this week at the end of the course.

Organisation and its role

How it defines mental capacity and the information it provides

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Comment

To compare two examples, the police deal with law enforcement and their language is quite technical, focusing on what the law does and does not allow police officers to do. On the other hand, campaigning agencies such as the Mental Health Foundation undertake formal research into mental capacity and produce academic publications with a view to influencing government policy.

Now that you’ve seen which organisations are concerned with mental capacity, you’ll move on to think about who is affected by mental capacity issues.

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