Updated: Mental Capacity Act factsheet “Why should we use it? What difference does it make?”

Edge training have updated their Mental Capacity Act factsheet following the recently published report into 2,553 deaths of people with learning disabilities (Learning from Lives and deaths – people with a learning disability and autistic people (LeDeR), 2021).  The report found that 49% of deaths were classified as “avoidable” for people with a learning disability. This compares to 22% for the general population.

The factsheet flags the concerns raised in the LeDeR report that with regards to the statutory duties domain, in primary and community care “the main concern in the responses was lack of adherence to the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), in that the Act was sometimes not clearly discussed when decisions were made, or that its principles were not followed.”  The report goes on to state that “mental capacity for decision making was not clearly and consistently recorded”.

Similar issues were flagged in the LeDeR report with regards to statutory duties in hospital inpatient care “with a number of reviewers commenting on the Mental Capacity Act “not being referred to” or being poorly understood and implemented.

The LeDeR report also went on to report positive practice with the Mental Capacity Act in the domain of statutory duties including “regular assessments of mental capacity in primary and community care and hospital in-patient care and “best interests” processes that included family, carers, independent advocates and the person themselves to the extent that was possible”.

The factsheet seeks to further encourage this good practice by raising awareness and lists seven important reasons for all health and social care staff to use the MCA in practice from saving lives to meeting CQC standards to maintaining professional registration.

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