1.3 Mental capacity and decision making
If the cared-for person lacks capacity to make a decision, then someone else might have to make the decision on their behalf. Very often it is the carer who accepts this responsibility. However, there are times when the responsibility does not lie with the carer.
Some decisions about social care services that require funding or treatment for a health condition are normally made by a health or social care professional. However, although this type of decision is outside the responsibility of the carer, the carer should still be consulted and asked for advice as they will usually know the cared-for person best.
The law says that any decisions must be made in the ‘best interests’ of the cared-for person. This means taking all the relevant factors into account, including:
- consulting the carer and any other family members and close friends
- involving the cared-for person as much as possible and listening to what they say
- taking into account the cared-for person’s past opinions, values and beliefs
- restricting the person’s freedom as little as possible.
When the carer is asked to help, it is important that their opinions are taken into account. You can do this by listening to them and remembering that they often have a better understanding of the cared-for person than anyone else.