Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act became law in October 2007 and brought clear guidelines about what should happen when a person has difficulty making decisions. This is very important for people with dementia as the ability to make decisions is affected in a number of ways for varying reasons, at different times.
In your notebook write down the 5 main principles of the Mental Capacity Act.
Task 8: In your notebook write down an example of how you may have been involved in making a best interest decision for a person with dementia. Describe the area of decision making where the person lacked capacity and what was the best interest decision.
Remember in relation to making a decision, a person with dementia may experience:
- Loss of ability in some areas of decisions making but still able in other areas. Capacity is DECISION SPECIFIC
- It is necessary to take into account past wishes, beliefs, feelings and values when making a best interest decision for a person who no longer has capacity. Knowing the life history of the person will help you to do this.
SCIE have a number of resources to learn about the MCA http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/mca/index.asp
There is a SCIE funded resource which looks specifically at supporting people with dementia using the MCA, which can be downloaded for free http://www.scie.org.uk/publications/mca/files/ALZSOCMCAreport.pdf
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
When a person who has dementia is in a care home or a hospital, the hospital or care home will need to consider if restrictions are being applied when caring for that person. For example may not be allowed to go outside on their own or walk into town alone.
If the restrictions are significant, then a decision will need to be made by the hospital or care home about whether it will be necessary to make an application for authorisation to deprive the person of their liberty.
The Department of Health have a number of publications which explain the DoLS procedures http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_091868
Equalities Act 2010
The 2010 Equalities Act provides a framework in law to protect people against discrimination. It is a law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
This new law includes a new concept of ‘discrimination arising from disability’.
When a person with dementia has difficulty carrying out their day-to-day activities they will come under the definitions of ‘disabled person’ and so they are protected under the Act.
A factsheet developed by Citizens Advice is available to download for people to learn about how the Equalities Act affects and changes the law and what their rights are
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