Mental Capacity in Practice

"What good looks like"

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Using the MCA effectively reduces distress for the person and stress for services

Published: Monday 04 January 2021

The MCA comes into play when a decision has to be made; after all, the first principle emphasises an adult's right to make autonomous decisions, a right that can only be infringed if it is established (by carrying out a capacity assessment) that the person lacks capacity, followed by a best interests decision based on S4 of the MCA. The MCA is not a stand alone legislation; it sits side by side with one's statutory duties, such as those under the Care Act , Mental health Act and also, ‘Consent to Treatment’.

The Act places the person at the centre of decision-making; who they are, their choices, views, their wishes and feelings. These are important considerations in the decision to be made. Inevitably therefore an empathetic conversation has to take place with them. This enables relationship building, hearing them and working together with them to achieve their outcomes, and results in less distress for them, and fewer crises for services.

Getting good at using the skills needed to apply the Principles of the MCA can also result in improved outcomes in other areas of work such as Person Centered Care Planning and Positive Risk Taking.

Achieving compliance with the MCA now will reduce the impact felt by services when the Liberty Protection Safeguards have to be implemented where all health and social care staff will need to be well equipped with carrying out legally sound capacity assessments