Mental Capacity & Advance Decisions
Mental capacity is defined as the ability to make a particular decision for yourself. By law, in order to be defined as having mental capacity, a person must be able to do the following:
- Understand information provided to them to make a decision.
- Retain the information given long enough to make the decision.
- Use or weigh up that information to make the decision.
- Communicate their decision.
1. Every adult has the right to make his or her own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity to make them unless it is proved otherwise.
2. A person must be given all practicable help before anyone treats them as not being able to make their own decisions.
3. Just because an individual makes what might be seen as an unwise decision, they should not be treated as lacking capacity to make that decision.
4. Anything done or any decision made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done in their best interests.
5. Anything done for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms.
The Code of Practice to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that tries to explain the Act in words that are easy to understand. The section dealing with Advance Decisions is at Chapter 9 of the Code (pg 158). Please click here should you wish to see read this.