3. Mental Capacity Act 2005
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a framework in England and Wales for assessing capacity and for making decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity. The most important part of the MCA are the five principles. These provide the foundation for anyone working with someone who might lack capacity.
- People must be assumed to have capacity unless it is proven otherwise.
- People must be supported to make a decision.
- Everyone with capacity has the right to make decisions that may appear to be unwise or strange to others.
- Any decision made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be made in their best interests.
- Any decision made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be the least restrictive option.
Alzheimer's Society has welcomed the MCA - it has the potential to help transform the culture of rights and decision-making for people with dementia, however further work is required to make sure that the public understands their rights under the Act, and that professionals understand the requirements of the Act and the powers that it creates. This was reflected in a House of Lords review of the MCA in 2014.
Alzheimer’s Society is part of the National Mental Capacity Forum and works with other organisations to improve understanding of the MCA and raise awareness of its importance for people affected by dementia.