The Mental Capacity Act 2005

The ‘Mental Capacity Act’ is an important law for vulnerable people over the age of 16 including  individuals with learning disabilities. It protects their rights to make their own decisions and choices wherever possible.

The 5 main principles of the Mental Capacity Act

  1. Always assume the person is able to make the decision until you have proof they are not.

  2. Try everything possible to support the person make the decision themselves.

  3. Do not assume the person does not have capacity to make a decision just because they make a decision that you think is unwise or wrong.

  4. If you make a decision for someone who cannot make it themselves, the decision must always be in their best interests.

  5. Any decisions, treatment or care for someone who lacks capacity must always follow the path that is the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms.

It's also important to remember that a person may have capacity for some decisions but not others, or they may not have capacity right now but may regain it in the future with support. This means all capacity decisions should be regularly reviewed to make sure they still reflect the person's ability to make decisions.

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