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Mental Capacity Ltd: Where it all began

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Offering a hand of support

The idea for Mental Capacity Ltd started one day when my brother Mike was visiting me in at my home in the South East, and we got chatting about my work as a mental capacity assessor and advocate.

During our chats, we started to talk about some of the frustrations I was experiencing with my work, and the poor practice I was encountering on an almost daily basis. Examples included wrongly applied DNAR orders, care plans that unduly restrained users in their wheelchairs, and the unlawful application of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), particularly within the private sector as well as lack of application in main stream hospital wards.

Our conversation soon turned to our dearly departed nan. Several years previous, our nan had experienced a nasty fall at home, which left her with a broken leg. As such, she spent several months staying in two separate hospitals while she tried to recover. This was despite the fact she was objecting to her placement on an almost daily basis.

Sadly, our nan’s cognitive function had long been in decline, and this decline was exacerbated by the fact she hadn’t left her home environment for several years, and she then developed a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which further impaired her ability to understand, process and retain information.

While hospital was clearly the best place for her, it was quite remarkable that at no point did either hospital put in place or even consider a DoLS application – despite the fact she was objecting to her placement and the law clearly suggests that this is something they should have done through use of the Acid Test for DoLs determination.

As an advocate, this is an area I am passionate about as I believe it is absolutely vital that a person’s voice is upheld and respected, whether they have capacity or not. This also includes ensuring that Best Interest decisions take into account the individual’s wishes, the least restrictive option, and how to proceed in a person-centred approach.

The seed of an idea

From our many discussions Mike suggested we sit down at some point for him to build a better picture of what mental capacity is, and how the Act works in practice. The aim would be to start building up some resources to help raise awareness around what is an important if underappreciated issue.

Some months later, on his next visit, Mike and I sat in my small flat in Westgate-on-sea with a large pad of paper and a freshly brewed pot of coffee with the aim to gather all of our ideas. I honestly don’t think he quite realised what he was letting himself in for!

As our ideas came together, it soon became clear that we had more than a free resource in mind – we actually had the seed of an idea for a business.

Plans come together

Drawing on his experience as a lecturer in management and marketing, Mike spent the next few weeks turning all of this information into a business plan and a strategy for us going forward. All of these documents went into a shared folder in OneDrive, plus a OneNote document where we could add our ideas and build up a better picture of what the business would look like.

Within the first stage of our business plan, we conducted a needs analysis on our potential clients, and explored the various offerings made available by our competitors. We also spent a lot of time working on the branding for the business and building up a bank of content ready for the launch of our website.

I also planned to move up north to be closer to Mike, so we could work more closely on the business and establish a name for ourselves with clients in the North West of England. In order to give us some time to get settled, we pencilled in a launch date of January 2022.

Mental Capacity Ltd Directors: Mike Ryder and Nicky Ryder out hiking together, sitting together infront of a drystone wall
Mental Capacity Ltd Directors Mike Ryder and Nicky Ryder, enjoying life in the North of England

Mental Capacity Ltd launches

I am proud to say that we have achieved this initial target, launching Mental Capacity Ltd just ahead of schedule! The journey so far hasn’t been easy, especially while we have both been juggling multiple other job roles and responsibilities. Thankfully, we both have a very proactive mindset and a strong drive to ‘get things done’. Through a combination of hard work, determination, and a lot of coffee, we have reached our first goal of officially launching the business and getting things underway.

However, it’s not always been smooth. There have certainly been several times when I have experienced what Mike refers to as ‘imposter syndrome’, where you feel as if what you do is never enough. This has been a major learning process for me, as it is something I hadn’t encountered before, as I had always worked for someone else. Now we have a business of our own, there is nowhere to hide!

I think this is perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing a new business, and certainly one I didn’t expect. Whenever I have doubts I always remind myself of our mission, and why we do the things that we do. If we can make a difference to just one single person’s life with this business, then it has been a job well done.

Partner, protect, promote

Whether you are new to the field of mental capacity, or are an experienced professional, I hope you find our resources useful. If you would like to find out more about who we are and what we do, then please do get in touch and we will be happy to talk through your needs and how we can support you with training, assessment and consultancy. As a business we place the individual at the heart of everything we do as we aim to partner, protect and promote the Mental Capacity Act (2005).

We look forward to working with you.

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