Do I Lack The Capacity To Make Decisions?

Under the Mental Capacity Act, a person is deemed as unable to act or make decisions for themselves due to an impairment of, or disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain.

This quiz will help to determine whether you, a family member or loved one has or could lose the capacity to make important life decisions about your life. It includes a series of questions, useful information and various case studies to help you make a decision.

Question 1 / 5

Have you, a family member or a loved one had, suffered from or are susceptible to any of the following?

Question 2 / 5

Choose the statement you agree with the most:

When someone who has had, suffered from or is susceptible to any of the previous conditions, they:

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The answer is “Are assessed for the capacity to make decisions about their life.”

Before regarding someone as having a lack of capacity, there are five key principles from the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that must be taken into account when considering if a person is unable to make a decision about their life:

  1. A person is assumed to have capacity unless it is proven otherwise.
  2. A person is not to be treated as incapable of making a decision unless all possible steps to help them have been unsuccessful.
  3. An unwise decision does not mean someone is incapable of making a decision.
  4. Where an act or a decision is made for, or on behalf of, a person lacking capacity, it must be done or made in their best interests.
  5. Before acting or making a decision on another’s behalf, consideration must be given as to whether the outcome can be achieved in a less restrictive way.

It is important to remember that an individual who is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s or suffers from a stroke is not automatically deemed as losing their mental capacity. A full assessment will be made by a doctor or other professional.

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Question 3 / 5

Choose the statement(s) you agree with the most (tick all that apply):

A person is unable to make a decision if they are unable to

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The answer is all of them.

When making a decision about someone’s capacity, CURE must be considered:

Comprehend the information related to making a decision
Use the information to come to a decision
Retain the information related to making a decision
Express their decision

Expressing a decision can be communicated by talking, using sign language or by any other means.

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Question 4 / 5

Choose the statement you agree with the most:

When someone lacks mental capacity, this means:

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The answer is “They may still be able to make decisions about day-to-day life, but not make bigger decisions”.

Judging a person’s mental capacity is decision-specific. A person might be able to make certain decisions for example, what to wear but not another, such as to make a will or consent to treatment.

Decisions usually made for somebody who lacks mental capacity are split into two categories - health and welfare decisions and property and finance decisions - and can include:

  • Giving or refusing consent to medical treatment, including life sustaining treatment
  • Discussing medical records and requirements with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Receiving dental or optical treatment
  • Where a person lives or receives care
  • How a person spends their day, manages their diet and looks after their appearance
  • Buying, selling and renting a property
  • Renovating or repairing a property
  • Managing a person’s bank accounts, investments, household bills and care home fees
  • Collecting your income, including pensions, state benefits and employment income
  • Buying any necessary equipment or items
  • Making small gifts on a person’s behalf, including a relative’s birthday, weddings or for religious holidays
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Question 5 / 5

A decision for somebody who lacks mental capacity must be made with their best interests in mind. Measures to do this can include: (tick all that apply)

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The answer is “All of the above”.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 outlines a checklist of the best interests that must be taken into account when making any decision or taking action on somebody else’s behalf.

  • Everything possible must be done to encourage participation from the individual in making a decision
  • Identify factors that the individual would take into account if they were making a decision themselves
  • Find out about the individual’s views - this could include their wishes and feelings, as well as any beliefs or values
  • Avoid discrimination by not making a decision based on assumptions related to age, appearance, condition or behaviour
  • Assess whether the individual might regain capacity and decide whether a decision should be postponed
  • Consult with others when making a decision, including:
    • Anyone named by the individual
    • Anyone caring for the individual
    • Family members and friends
    • Anyone else interested in their welfare
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Thank you for taking the time to use our interactive tool

We hope this has helped you understand more about mental capacity. If this has got you thinking about the future, and you want to ensure you have someone you trust making decisions about your life, you can make a lasting power of attorney.

To find out more about lasting power of attorney, download our factsheet here.

If you want to speak to a solicitor about creating a lasting power of attorney, get in touch with us by calling 0345 872 6666, or use our online enquiry form to request a callback.

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