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Mental Capacity Act - Assessing Best Interests

Mental Capacity


Assessing Best Interests

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 was enacted on 2nd of April 07. One of the key elements is determining 'best interests'.

If a person has been assessed as lacking capacity, regarding a specific decision, any intervention that follows must take into account that person's best interests.

The Code of Practice has developed a check list of factors which must be considered, though this is not a definitive list.

  1. Equal consideration and non-discrimination 
  2. Considering all relevant circumstances 
  3. Regaining capacity 
  4. Permitting and encouraging participation 
  5. Special consideration for life threatening treatments 
  6. The persons own wishes 
  7. The person's own wishes and feelings, beliefs and values 
  8. The views of other people

The local authority has a duty to apply best interest principles. The action set out above and any additional action must be considered when making a decision in a person's best interests.

The authority must attempt to discover if there is a Lasting Power of Attorney or if there is an Advanced Decision. Both of which must be adhered to if they are valid.

Confidentiality, the requirement to balance the right of the person with the requirement to seek further information regarding the above must be a considered judgment.

Any person or professional groups must have a reasonable belief that any actions undertaken are in the person's best interests. All relevant circumstances must have been considered and all the elements of the check list applied.

Before a decision is made consideration must be given to involving the IMCA service if the decision involves a move to nursing or residential care or if there are serious medical implications. The IMCA service would also be involved if the person falls under the vulnerable adult's procedures. The IMCA service supports the un-befriended, the assumption being that family or carers would offer support in most circumstances.

Page last updated: 31 July 2009