Sheila will try to answer as many of your English Social Care questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.
What are the four characteristics in the MCA, where you must never assume a person lacks capacity?
Hi Sheila, can you tell me what the four characteristics in the Mental Capacity Act are, where you must never assume a person lacks capacity?
Thank you for your question.
These are the principles of the Mental Capacity Act:
When looking at capacity you must always:
- Assume that a person can make their own decisions unless there’s reason to question it.
- Do everything possible to help a person to make their own decision.
- Someone can’t be assumed to lack capacity for a decision simply because other people think it’s unwise, or not what other people might do
- Anything we do relating to someone who lacks capacity must be in that person’s best interests
- Before you act, think about whether the purpose you want to achieve can be achieved in a less restrictive way.
These are the four questions you must ask when assessing capacity:
Does the person:
- Understand the information related to a decision
- Retain the information long enough to be able to make a decision
- Use or weigh the information to reach a decision, and
- Communicate this decision (by any means that can be understood).
You can find all of this information in the Mental Capacity Code of Practice at:
I hope this is helpful.
*All information is correct at the time of publishing.
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Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA). Care is Sheila’s life; she possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business and as a leader in the care sector.
Sheila will try to answer as many of your questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.
Please note that Sheila can not offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. If your matter concerns a specific service provider, please contact the CQC.