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Case Study

Case studies from the field of Mental Capacity.

Supporting capacity: Young man in wheelchair

Preparing questions for a complex Mental Capacity Assessment

In our last blog, we considered the complex case of ‘P’ – an individual being assessed for mental capacity with respect to their change in accommodation, as well as their wish to take responsibility for managing their inheritance.

The case study highlighted several major issues in the way the original mental capacity assessment had been completed, including concerns around the lack of support to help P communicate autonomously, and the lack of documentation around P’s condition and capacity.

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Assessing complex cases: Disabled man using eye tracking software

Mental capacity assessments for complex decisions

In this blog, we will work through an example mental capacity assessment for an individual making a complex decision. This case study is based on a real-life example reviewed in the wake of the Covid pandemic. At each stage we will present the information as it was presented to us, followed by specific comment relating to the assessment process and steps that could and in some cases should have been taken to improve the quality of outcomes.

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Central Middlesex Hospital, part of London NW University Hospital Trust

Patient dies as NHS Trust fails to comply with the MCA

On the 29th December 2021, Jenny Kitzinger and Celia Kitzinger shared a challenging and troubling case on the website Open Justice Court of Protection.  This case demonstrates the lack of knowledge and application of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) by London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, who continue to be rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission

In this case, the patient, Mrs W had her nasogastric tube removed by medical staff on 10th November 2021. Mrs W had previously assigned the role of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare to her children. However, her children were not consulted in this process, and the clinicians declined to reinstate the feeding tube when challenged. The Trust then proceeded to withdraw hydration from Mrs W as well.

Read More »Patient dies as NHS Trust fails to comply with the MCA
lady and man in wheelchair looking out

Common errors found in Mental Capacity Assessments

I’ve been involved with the field of Mental Capacity for many years now, both as an assessor and an advocate. In this time, I’ve encountered a whole range of common errors and mistakes that come up time and time again.

These errors can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, and ability to make decisions for themselves. Not only that, but they also leave open the risk that if the Mental Capacity decision is ever to be challenged, then it will quickly be dismissed and overruled by governing bodies such as the Court of Protection.

However, thankfully, most of these errors are easily avoidable and simple to resolve with adequate reflection, preparation and the correct training. 

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Man with learning disability getting married

Example Mental Capacity Assessments

When I have sought to learn more about the Mental Capacity Act (2005), I have found a unexpected lack of information on precisely how to complete an assessment. Having attended many courses on Mental Capacity in my time, it still surprises me just how many courses fail to even set out what to ask, how much to record, what information is relevant and what to do next.

Read More »Example Mental Capacity Assessments