The Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Their Relationship to Adult Safeguarding
This chapter describes the Mental Capacity Act and its relevance when applied to people receiving healthcare within England and Wales. It explains the circumstances in which additional safeguards are triggered, in the form of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (2009). In our roles as the providers of care and treatment to patients, we have a responsibility to both follow the Act and be able to demonstrate that its use is embedded in our practice. We are required to use the Act to promote our patients’ involvement in decisions related to their care and treatment. Only when we have evidence that this expectation cannot be met are we legally permitted to follow the guidance in the Act in order to make decisions on another adult’s behalf.
In this context, the Act has implications for all of us—clinicians and patients—by stipulating measures that must be taken before decisions are made on any individual’s behalf. By providing the tools to empower people for whom decision-making may be problematic, the Act also offers protection for those involved in caring for people who are unable to advocate fully for themselves. It covers the whole range of decisions to be made, from everyday issues to healthcare and financial matters.
KeywordsMental capacity Healthcare Safeguarding Consent Advocacy Decision-making Autonomy Interventions Legal framework Best interests Least restrictive option
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