CPPE: Caring for patients who might lack mental capacity

CPPE has developed a workshop that looks at caring for patients who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions relating to their medicines.

According to the GPhC’s guidance on consent: “Every adult is presumed to have capacity to make their own decisions (that is, they are competent) and to give consent for a service or treatment unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.” However, some adults may, permanently or temporarily, lack capacity to make these decisions.

Implemented in 2007, The Mental Capacity Act provides a comprehensive statutory framework for people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves, or who have capacity and want to make preparations for a time when they may lack capacity in the future.

It sets out who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. The Act applies to adults aged 16 years and over in England and Wales.

Statutory principles

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is based on five key statutory principles that underpin the legal requirements in the Act:

  1. A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they lack capacity.
  2. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help them to do so have been taken without success.
  3. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because they make an unwise decision.
  4. An act done, or decision made, under this Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in their best interests.
  5. Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.

Pharmacy professionals and their teams must be familiar with the principles of and comply with The Mental Capacity Act and its purpose in the use of medicines. Any decisions made or anything done by pharmacy staff that is not in keeping with any of these five core principles may break the law.

CPPE has developed a workshop – The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and covert administration of medicines – that aims to develop your knowledge and skills to help you manage and optimise care for patients who might lack the mental capacity to make a specific decision relating to their medicines at a given point in time.

The workshop will offer you an opportunity to discuss a number of scenarios that involve challenging situations and difficult decisions that focus on covert administration of medicines. You can book a place on the workshop here.


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