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Mental Capacity Act Awareness - know your choices

Mental Capacity Act Awareness

6 March 2015

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS is raising awareness on the role of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the power of attorney when people have to make the decision about the future of their healthcare. From the 9 to 13 March, the trust safeguarding team will be highlighting the importance of this act to ensure patients and the wider public understand what the law says about consent to treatment.

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is designed to protect and empower individuals who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It is a law that applies to individuals aged 16 and over. Examples of people who may lack capacity include those with dementia, severe learning disability, a brain injury, mental health condition and stroke.

Dr David Thompson, trust safeguarding lead explains: “the starting point is that adults should be helped to make their own decisions wherever possible. This can mean giving people extra time to explain treatments as well as the risk and benefits. People should not be rushed into going along with something they don’t understand.  Even with support, there are adults who are unable to make some decisions. For example, if they have severe learning disabilities. Here our staff have to do what is in their best interests, consulting with the family or friends involved”.

The week will also draw attention to some choices all of us can make  now about our healthcare in the future if we become unable to make our own decisions, for example, because of dementia. There has always been the opportunity for adults to appoint someone to manage their money if they become unable to do this themselves. What is new is the option to appoint someone we trust to make our healthcare decisions, maybe a partner, son or daughter. So instead of the healthcare professionals, it will be this person who decides what is in their best interests. This is called creating a  Lasting Power of Attorney.

Information about the Mental Capacity Act will be available at the entrance of Teddington Memorial Hospital on Monday 9 March 2015 and at the Heart of Hounslow between 11.30am and 1.30pm.


For further guidance, please contact Dr David Thompson, safeguarding adults nurse on telephone 020 8973 3081 or email david.thompson@hrch.nhs.uk