Families are being supported to challenge professionals who exclude them from decisions taken on behalf of their loved-ones under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Advice has been published to inform families of their rights to be consulted on best interests decisions under the legislation, along with model letters that parents and carers can use where they feel agencies are excluding them from decisions about their relatives’ care or welfare.
The resources have been produced by charities Mencap, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Ambitious About Autism and law firm Irwin Mitchell, in response to concerns about families being excluded from decisions about issues such as medical treatment or care placements.
“The Act requires all professionals, including those from local authorities and the NHS, to consult with family members when an adult lacks the mental capacity to make the relevant decision themselves,” said Alex Rook, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell. “The law on this is clear. We want families to know their rights.”
Mencap head of campaigns and policy David Congdon said there were often serious consequences for individuals with severe learning disabilities where professionals did not consult their families about decisions, particularly around medical treatment.
“Families often have invaluable knowledge about their son or daughter, for example, they understand the subtle ways in which they communicate or express that they are in pain,” he added.
Picture: Image Source/Rex Features
Social work dilemmas live: join the debate
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 will be at the heart of our first live online debate on a social work practice dilemma, which takes place tomorrow (25 April) from 7pm-8pm. The case under debate concerns a woman with depression who appears to be falling into crisis but is declining further support, and the debate will be led by an expert panel, including social worker Victoria Hart, who has already published her initial thoughts on the case. We have also produced a brief guide to the Mental Capacity Act to inform the debate. To sign up to participate in the debate, register in the Cover It Live panel below.