If somebody is unable make decisions for themselves because of a mental illness, severe learning disability, advanced dementia, brain injury, stroke etc then they are said to lack mental capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is designed to protect people who can’t make decisions for themselves. It also allows someone, who is losing mental capacity, make plans for someone to make future decisions on their behalf. It also aims to:

  • allow adults to make as many decisions as they can for themselves.
  • allow decisions concerning personal welfare or property and affairs to be made in the best interests of adults when they have not made any future plans and cannot make a decision at the time.
  • ensures an NHS body or local authority will appoint an independent mental capacity advocate to support someone who cannot make a decision about serious medical treatment, or about hospital, care home or residential accommodation, when there are no family or friends to be consulted.
  • provides protection against legal liability for carers who have honestly and reasonably sought to act in the person’s best interests.