Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) Level 2 (VTQ)

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The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Video 12 of 47
4 min 52 sec
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Understanding the Mental Capacity Act 2005: An Essential Guide

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) offers a framework that empowers and safeguards individuals who may be incapable of making some decisions independently. It outlines the guidelines about decision-making, the situations in which they can be made, and the appropriate manner to do so. This act revolves around five principal rules which must be adhered to by anyone working with or caring for adults lacking capacity.

Principle One: Assumption of Capacity

Every adult possesses the right to make their decisions and is assumed to have the capacity to do so unless proven otherwise. No assumptions about a person's capacity should be made based on their age, appearance, medical condition, disability, or behaviour. A person is regarded as lacking capacity if, due to a mind or brain impairment or disturbance, they are unable to make a decision for themselves. This impairment can be either temporary or permanent, but the act does not apply to individuals under 16 years of age.

Principle Two: Support with Decision-making

An individual is deemed unable to make their own decisions if they cannot comprehend or retain the information required to make that decision. Information should be presented in an accessible manner, such as simple language or visual aids. All possible practical help should be provided for decision-making, including clear information about possible consequences. Treatment can only be administered if all practical steps to assist the person in decision-making have failed.

Principle Three: Respect for Unwise Decisions

Everyone has the right to make decisions that others might view as unwise or eccentric. A person's capacity should not be questioned merely because they make an unwise decision or their beliefs and values differ from yours.

Principle Four: Best Interest

When a person is incapable of making their own decisions, any act or decision made on their behalf must be in their best interest. This includes taking into account all relevant circumstances and following procedural steps. The person should be encouraged to participate in the decision-making process as much as possible. The decision should consider the person's past and present wishes, feelings, beliefs, values, and any other factors they would have contemplated. Consultation with anyone named by the person can be beneficial when assessing their best interests.

Principle Five: Least Restrictive Option

If you must make a decision for someone, it should be made in a way that infringes the least on their rights and freedom of action. Before any action or decision is made, consider if the outcome can be achieved less restrictively.