Making a decision is not always an easy task. When it comes to deciding on someone or your well-being, a well-thought-out choice needs the coordination of several processes. Firstly, there needs to be a connection between long-term memory, working memory, emotions, and insight.

Secondly, to promote the dignity of all people, they should be actively included in any decision that affects their care, including personal choices like what to eat, what to dress, what time to go to bed, and more significant issues like their care or support. This article aims to educate readers on how to help people make decisions under the Mental Capacity Act.

At what stage people need help to make their own decisions

There are signs that a person may be unable to make their own decisions at times. These include the following.

  • Lacking a broad grasp of the decision as well as the reason behind taking the decision.
  • Lacking sufficient knowledge of the implications of making or not making the decision.
  • Inability to realize, remember and apply the information given to them when making a decision.
  • Being unable to, or unwilling to, explain the decision consistently.

5 Principles of Assessing Mental Capacity Act

The principles of mental health capacity define the legal process and assumptions to treat someone under this Act. The Principles of the Mental Capacity Act are given as follows. To get in-depth knowledge of the relevant Mental Capacity Act and safeguarding you can also check the Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner Course.

● The capacity evaluation begins with the assumption that the individual under assessment can make their own decisions.
● Provide the necessary support for the person to make their own decision, making all reasonable adjustments as needed.
● Please do not conclude that an individual is incapable of deciding merely because it is a poor one or because someone else disagrees with it.
● In case of inability to make decisions for themselves. In that case, another person will have to make decisions for him in the individual’s best interests.
● Suppose a family or another professional makes a decision. In that case, that person must always choose the least restrictive course of action that does not overburden the individual or infringe on their rights.

What can help someone to make their own decisions?

Consider the following factors while assisting someone in making their own decision.

● Provide the guy with sufficient information to enable him to comprehend the entire scenario. If necessary, provide proper interpretation.
● Ascertain that the individual spends enough time thinking about the situation to achieve the best results.
● Ascertain that the individual is free of any influence or pressure that might interfere with his normal mental process.
● Ascertain that the decision-maker has the flexibility to communicate his preferences, likes, and dislikes.
● Allow the person to consult with someone with a specific competence who can assist in making a decision, such as a speech pathologist, psychologist, health professional, or developmental mental worker.
● The individual making the decision should have the opportunity to speak with someone familiar with the situation.

The legal framework of helping people make their decision

Let’s look at what the law says about this. To begin with, we must never presume that people cannot make decisions about their lives unless we have evidence that they do. Second, you can’t make legal judgments for individuals until you’ve done everything you can to allow them to make their own decisions.
The Mental Capacity Act of 2005 is a law that protects and helps people who are unable to make confident decisions on their own. It guarantees that individuals get the required assistance in making any decision they can make and contributing to any conclusions about their lives that they cannot complete independently.
The Mental Capacity Act empowers and protects people with mental disabilities.

● To make their own choices and protect their right to do so wherever possible.
● Providing a framework for determining a person’s decision-making capacity and making a choice that protects their interests if they cannot do it by themselves.
● Providing ways of planning for the future.

How to assess mental capacity

You may need to assess capacity if a person’s mind or brain is facing the impact of a disease or disability and cannot make a particular decision at a specific time. The inability may not be permanent. Capacity assessments should are mostly time and decision-specific. You can’t judge someone’s ability just based on their age, looks, health, or behavior. Here is a decision outlining people facing difficulties:

● Arrange the data that is essential to the choice
● The person must retain the knowledge long enough to make a choice.
● Use that information to make a decision based on their priorities.
● Inform others of their decision.

Making someone else’s decision on behalf is an elaborate procedure. However, protecting the interest, safety, and ensuring freedom is an obligation. Suppose you are concerned about a person’s ability to make decisions. In that case, you should become aware of the legal process for acting on their behalf, and in many circumstances, seeking legal assistance from an experienced party can be beneficial.

When Should An Individual’s Capacity Make A Decision Be Assessed?

Decision-making capacity is an important issue in safeguarding children and adults. An individual’s ability depends on a variety of settings. These can include situations where an individual is in charge of large sums of money. A capability evaluation and appointment of a deputy to manage their affairs could prevent others from taking advantage of them. An individual may also undergo a capacity evaluation if there are concerns that they are a risk to themselves or cannot care for themselves and have little understanding of the risks posed by making or not making specific decisions.

Ways of Carrying Out A Mental Capacity Assessment

Who is qualified to conduct a mental capability evaluation? A mental capability examination can be completed by anyone, according to the legislation. The advantage is that a wide range of healthcare practitioners can perform a mental capacity examination. Some experts, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and general medical practitioners, are more likely than others to have the ability to conduct mental capacity tests efficiently due to their training. Collaboration of the person’s family and loved one is very important for perfect mental capacity assessment. 

Who makes decisions for people unable to make their own decisions

All individuals have sufficient capacity to make their own medical decisions. That is unless there is compelling evidence against it.
If a person’s capacity to consent is likely to be harmed in the future, they can make a legally binding advance choice, often known as a living will. He may also outline the procedures and treatments that a person will not accept.
Suppose you want to plan for your loss of capacity to make vital choices. In that case, you can formally designate someone, usually a close family member, as your lasting power of attorney (LPA).
Someone with LPA can make healthcare choices on your behalf, though you can choose to refuse some treatments in advance.

Concluding remarks

The Mental Capacity Act plays a key role in safeguarding vulnerable adults as well as youth in their proper decision-making. So appropriate knowledge of the subject matter is necessary for all practicing as well as future health practitioners in their job.