Mental Capacity Act 600 Words

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The aspect of law which is going to be discuss is consent, in relation to the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005. The key issues are whether patients above the age of 18 are legally competent to make informed decisions towards their healthcare treatment, and the role of the nurse in this process. There are many different laws relating to health care, one of these being the MCA. The MCA came into force in 2007, it is underpinned by five key principles, which are designed to help protect and empower individuals who are unable to make decisions for them self or lack the capacity to do so (Ford, 2010). Consent is when a person agrees to something, in this case relating to their treatment. It’s a legal and ethical requirement that consent must be valid; it must be voluntary, informed and the person consenting must be mentally competent (Sellman and Snelling, 2010). There are three main forms of giving consent, orally, written and implied (Tidy, 2009). In nursing every individual must be deemed competent unless proven otherwise when assessing the patient; this is where the MCA comes into play. Under the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) guidelines for consent, nurses must be aware of the legislation regarding mental capacity and must know how and when they need to assess the capacity of a patient (NMC 2008). Mental capacity is the ability to make a decision; capacity can only be considered for a particular decision at a particular time. This is because capacity may vary over time and the ability to make decisions may vary on some things as opposed to others, depending on the individual (Ford, 2010). Nurses must give up to date relevant information regarding the treatment of the individual, stating benefits, risks and alternatives, making sure the individual can understand and retain the information, whilst being able to communicate their decision in relation to the proposed treatment; if the individual is able to do this then he or she is deemed competent (Tidy, 2009)....
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