People with severe mental disabilities are often unable to take full responsibility for their lives. That means that key decisions will sometimes need to be made for them, be it about work, medical treatment or their finances. In April 2005 the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) was introduced to develop this area of law.
It was established to protect vulnerable people over the age of sixteen who cannot make their own decisions. Under the Act, protection is given to individuals who fear they may lose the capacity to make decision in future. This is done by appointing someone else to make decisions for you if you lack the capacity to do so yourself. This person would be called an ‘attorney’, who has been given ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA) to act on your behalf.
The MCA is based on five key principles that must be followed by if someone is considering making a decision for someone else:
The main aim of the MCA is to ensure that the decision making power is not taken away from an individual with severe mental disabilities, but does allow you and other carers to make important decisions in the individual’s best interest. To assess whether an individual can make a certain decision, they must have the capacity to do so.
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