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Crucial decisions often taken with poor guidance for those with limited mental capacity

Date:
May 14, 2014
Source:
Lancaster University
Summary:
People who have limited mental capacity need better help with making decisions according to a clinical psychologist. "With an aging population and more people surviving serious injury, this Act will affect nearly everyone at some point. Whether from Alzheimer's, autism or brain injury, people can lack the mental capacity to decide things like where to live or whether to have hospital treatment," the lead researcher said. He said that professionals often veered between being too empowering or too restrictive when helping with decisions.

People who have limited mental capacity need better help with making decisions according to a clinical psychologist at Lancaster University.

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Dr Stephen Weatherhead says the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act by health and social care professionals is often inadequate.

Research he supervised, conducted by Irram Waji is published in the journal Social Care and Neurodisability. The research found gaps in training and misunderstandings in the implementation of the complexities of the Act.

Stephen said: "With an aging population and more people surviving serious injury, this Act will affect nearly everyone at some point. Whether from Alzheimer's, autism or brain injury, people can lack the mental capacity to decide things like where to live or whether to have hospital treatment."

He said that professionals often veered between being too empowering or too restrictive when helping with decisions.

"For example, when a lady with Alzheimer's says she wants to leave everything to her two grandchildren when she actually has four grandchildren, what do you do ? This lady had forgotten about the other two so someone needs to help her make that decision."

He said specialist training is needed to ensure that professionals understand the subtle provisions of the Act.

"We need to go further than just ensuring knowledge and confidence; we need to also ensure that people are applying that knowledge and confidence safely and true to the empowerment principles upon which the Act was established."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Irram Walji, Ian Fletcher, Stephen Weatherhead. Clinical psychologists’ implementation of the Mental Capacity Act. Social Care and Neurodisability, 2014; 5 (2): 111 DOI: 10.1108/SCN-11-2013-0041

Cite This Page:

Lancaster University. "Crucial decisions often taken with poor guidance for those with limited mental capacity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514084550.htm>.
Lancaster University. (2014, May 14). Crucial decisions often taken with poor guidance for those with limited mental capacity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514084550.htm
Lancaster University. "Crucial decisions often taken with poor guidance for those with limited mental capacity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140514084550.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

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