Mental Capacity Act 2005
The Mental Capacity Act is a law which helps and protects people who may not be able to make decisions for themselves. This could be because of dementia, a learning disability or mental health problems.
Someone is said to 'lack capacity' if they are not able to do at least one of the following:
understand information given to them
retain information long enough to make a decision
weigh up information to make a decision
communicate their decision - by any possible means
This Act states that every adult has the right to make their own decisions, and that they should be supported to do so. Everybody caring for someone who may lack capacity must follow this law.
The Act covers major decisions about someone's property and affairs, healthcare treatment and where the person lives, as well as everyday decisions about personal care (such as what someone eats), where the person cannot make the decisions themselves. It enables people to plan for the future.
The Act is supported by the Public Guardian.