The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the UK. It is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It applies to people aged 16 and over.
The Act covers decisions about day-to-day things like what to wear or what to buy for the weekly shop, or serious life-changing decisions like whether to move into a care home or have major surgery.
A lack of mental capacity could be due to:
- a stroke or brain injury
- a mental health problem
- a learning disability
- confusion, drowsiness, or unconsciousness because of an illness (or the treatment for it)
- substance or alcohol misuse
The Mental Capacity Act is accompanied by the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice. This tells professionals and carers what they must do when they act or make decisions on behalf of people who can’t act or make those decisions for themselves.