Everything You Need to Know About Mental Capacity Assessments

Circle Case Management team in a meeting

Mental Capacity Assessment...a definition

A mental capacity assessment is performed when there are question marks regarding an individual’s ability to make independent, fully-informed decisions about certain features of their life.

It’s imperative that any mental capacity assessment follows strict legislation and code of practice and offers clear documentation that the individual has the ability to make crucial decisions—and, if they do not, why this is the case.

Dr. Abi Cheeseman, clinical psychologist, leads the mental capacity assessment service for Circle Case Management. Dr. Abi’s professional team provides complete COP3 documentation with extensive, in-depth reports of each assessment—both retrospective and post-MCA.

How is Mental Capacity Assessed?

The Mental Capacity Act provides a 2-stage test of capacity which shapes the framework of any assessment.

Firstly, does the individual have any form of brain or psychological impairment as a consequence of illness—such as dementia or a stroke—or extraneous factors such as drug or alcohol use? 

Secondly, as a result, does the impairment affect the individual in such a way that they are not able to make a specific decision when required? It’s important to note at this stage that the diagnosis is by no means binary; people might be capable of making some decisions, but lack the capacity to make others effectively. 

Likewise, mental capacity can also fluctuate over time—an individual’s decision-making ability may either improve or deteriorate throughout or after the initial assessment.

In simple terms, the Mental Health Act states that an individual can be deemed unable to make a decision if they cannot comprehend, retain, or adequately consider the relevant information that is fundamental to the decision-making process.

Black and white image of a wheelchair user

What is the Mental Capacity Act?

The primary goals of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act is concerned with the protection of an individual’s rights to make independent decisions, and to protect those persons against improper treatment if and when they lack the capacity to do so.

This can cover a whole range of decision-making elements; from day-to-day considerations like the weekly shop or choosing the right clothes to wear, to crucial life-affecting decisions like housing situations or medical procedures.

Following the legal parameters of the MCA, an assessor must always begin on the premise that the individual has capacity. The demand for a mental capacity assessment is triggered when there is genuine doubt whether that person can fully comprehend the information that is connected to their decision-making—or if they are unable to verbalise or express their decision.

It’s vital that an individual is provided with an independent advocate—such as Circle Case Management—who will offer support and guidance throughout the process.

How can we help?

Fundamentally, The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) was established to protect and empower people who may lack the ability to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. Here at Circle Case Management, with our expert multidisciplinary Mental Capacity team, headed by Dr. Abi Cheeseman, we promise to provide assessments for adults and children with the highest-degree of professionalism and care, while working around your own specific timescale and budget. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Posted on December 15th 2021

Loading... Updating page...