The Mental Capacity Act
What I need to know
The Mental Capacity Act is a new law. It is a law about making decisions. It is about making decisions now. It is about planning for the future.
Why do I need to know about this Act?
It says how people will help me to make a decision. It says how other people must work out if I can make my own decision or not. It says what other people will do if I can’t make my own decisions.
What help must I have?
I must be given all the help and support I need to make a decision. If I need signs and symbols, video or tape recordings to help me make a decision, the person must help me to make use of them. I can make what others might think is an unwise decision. Many people may make unwise decisions but this alone does not mean that I lack capacity.
Who decides if someone has the capacity?
Anyone – a health or care worker, relative or friend might need to decide if I have capacity or not.
What happens if I cannot make the decision for myself?
If I cannot make my own decision about something, the other person must decide what to do. The other person must do things in my best interests. This is doing what is best for me.
When should my family and friends be consulted?
- If I am unable to make a decision for myself.
- The person must listen to what I have to say and give me time to make my decision.
- They must talk to people who know me well.
- They must involve me as much as possible.
- The person who makes the decision must think about my known wishes and feelings.
- I may want to talk to my family about my wishes and feelings or write them down.
- I can make choices now about medical treatment that I do not want to have in the future.
- I can tell people now about care that I would like to have in the future.
- If I am unable to tell people about my choices in the future they will know what my wishes are.