Mental Capacity Act 2005
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into force on 1 April 2007. It applies to people aged 16 or over who may lack capacity to make some decisions for themselves, eg through illness, disability or injury. The act provides protection and support for people who are in this situation.
The act is there to:
strengthen and promote the right of people to make their own decisions and to be supported to do so
protect those who may lack capacity to make particular decisions
set out in which situations other people can make decisions and act on your behalf if you are unable to do so
help resolve disputes
The act provides a clearer legal basis for making decisions and in doing so promotes best practice.
It's also important for health and welfare professionals because it sets out a clear legal framework so that there is common understanding of how to care for and treat patients who lack mental capacity.
Planning for the future
The act offers people who have capacity to decide how they are cared for in the future by introducing new ways for them to plan ahead for a time when they might lose capacity. People can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appointing someone they trust who can take financial, welfare or health decisions on their behalf.
The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards protect people living in care homes and hospitals:
- who cannot make decisions about their care or treatment
- who need to be cared for in a restrictive way
- where assessments indicate that it is in their best interests and protects them from harm
More information about the safeguards is available on the Department of Health website.Mental Capacity Act - further guidance