It's decision time: are you making the right choices under the Mental Capacity Act?

Every single person makes a variety of decisions each day. Big or small, complex or not, most of us are able to make decisions for ourselves. However, this is not the case for a large number of people who lack the capacity to make certain choices about their life due to reasons such as a mental health problem, learning disability, stroke or dementia. For those circumstances the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 is designed to protect and empower individuals, and assist the most vulnerable by providing a framework that places individuals at the heart of the decision-making process.

Although MCA is a lawful requirement in England and Wales, a recent survey undertaken by Desuto, discovered that 89% of health and social care professionals stated they would like a better understanding of the Act and how best to work with patients within it. It is clear that there is still some misunderstanding around the Act and barriers to implementation, as professional bodies such as Care England1 have recognised that information and knowledge is not being filtered down to frontline staff.

The body also stated that health and social care professionals may be too reliant on classroom training to understand MCA, rather than using training in every day decisions. Although there are of course pockets of creative thinking across England and Wales in relation to MCA implementation, these need to spread wider and further. Care teams should see MCA implementation as an opportunity, not a burden.

In response to the issues currently facing health and social care professionals, Desuto has launched a new support tool to simplify decisions for vulnerable people in society. The online tool assists those who make outcomes in line with MCA to assure compliance and ensure positive outcomes for patients. The technology is designed to support professionals to produce highly detailed reports on patients, which in turn can reduce the time taken to document care decisions, and eliminate human error.