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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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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.

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Lady in wheelchair facing away from camera, looking down a paved street

How to explain assessments to people who are being assessed

We all have a large amount of underlying assumptions or associations in all elements of our lives, which we are encouraged as working professionals to stop and reflect on in order to reduce the impact of these on our daily practices. Without this professional conduct we risk being biased, unprofessional, incur misunderstandings or cause offence. Whether it is surrounding age, gender, health conditions, political outlook, faith, religion, education or appearance.

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Elderly lady walking outside arm in arm with nurse. Photo by Cristina Serí on Unsplash.

Mental Capacity Assessments: Where to start?

From talking to colleagues, team members from different settings and other professionals across the board about the topic of the Mental Capacity Act and its Assessment, one of the most common stumbling blocks reported appears to be – where to start with an assessment, closely followed by the contents of completed assessments. It can leave some people feeling really overwhelmed and unsure of themselves, while others are thriving at the challenge, identifying ways to establish a “standard” for their own working environment. 

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