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Comment on legislation, case law, and relevant stories relating to Mental Capacity and the care of vulnerable people.

Weighing up a tough decision: Man sat thinking on sofa

Should a paid RPR consult with friends and family?

A Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) is an advocate assigned to a person who is under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). They are assigned by the Supervisory Authority to ensure the individual’s voice is upheld and supported while deprivations are in place. This includes the responsibility to raise a review and then a challenge if the relevant person is objecting to their care, treatment and/or placement.

Thinking about the future: Man in glasses looking at reflection in train window

Does a person experiencing decision paralysis lack mental capacity?

Over many years of professional practice I have come across a number cases where certain vulnerable individuals have found themselves unable to make a decision, most frequently when they are confronted with a ‘big decision’ of lasting consequence.

While in some cases it can be sensible to put off a decision until more information becomes available, this ‘decision paralysis’ can sometimes have lasting and quite damaging consequences. This is especially true where decision paralysis can lead to delays in treatment or reduce the quality of life of the individual while they mull over their decision.

Patient consulting with doctor

Who can carry out a Mental Capacity Assessment?

Anyone can conduct a Mental Capacity Assessment. However, context is important, and a professional may be required for complex decisions. This will help ensure assessments are carried out in the correct manner, and that they are valid (i.e. reliable and trustworthy) in order to protect both the assessor, and the person being assessed.

Retaining information: man looking out of window

Protecting Human Rights in care settings

As the size of our retired population grows, and our social norms change, we are seeing an increasing demand for care and nursing homes to support those who are not able to have their needs met within the community.

These older adults – indeed many younger adults as well – may have come to these placements through shared decision-making, or through Best Interest decisions made on their behalf. Others may be in care settings as a part of discharge-to-assess models, respite, or as a step-down placement for rehabilitation prior to returning home.

Supporting capacity: woman being pushed in wheelchair, looking at the sun

Mental Capacity Ltd: Our Mission 

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Our Mission is to raise awareness and confidence in the everyday application of the Mental Capacity Act, including the use of the Deprivation of Liberties and Liberty Protection Safeguards. We strive to demystify assessment process, empowering those involved and ultimately helping to ensure that people’s rights are protected, and the best decisions are made.  

Supporting capacity with augmentative communication aids

Support for RPRs

An RPR is a vital role under the Mental Capacity Act (2005), supporting an individual’s inclusion and rights around their Deprivation of Liberties (DoLS). This role is often filled by an unpaid family-member, friend or partner. However, if a family-member, friend, or partner cannot be identified, the supervisory body is required to refer for independent advocacy to complete this role as a paid (professional) RPR.

Future decisions: black and white photo of man looking pensive as he thinks about what to do

Mental Capacity and future decisions

The Mental Capacity Act is designed to empower a person’s voice, protect their rights and provide safeguarding measures, alongside direction of practice, if a person is determined to lack capacity for a particular decision at a certain time. In this blog, we explore the role of the Mental Capacity Act around future decisions relating to healthcare, finance and assigning an LPA.

Young man with Down's Syndrome, smiling, touching foreheads with father

Deprivation of liberties and the under 18s

When does care become a deprivation for a young person under 18 years of age? When is care ‘necessary’ and how do we define what counts as ‘necessary’? Are a young person’s right so different from that of an adult? These are all questions that some of us wrestle with on an almost daily basis – and yet at the same time, it is evident that in some cases, these questions are not given the attention that they deserve.