Date Published: 25 February 2010

New online tool helps mental capacity assessment (UK)

Mental Health issues - UK

Practitioners working in health and social care will be able to improve the way they assess a person's mental capacity using a new, free online resource launched by the Mental Health Foundation and its sister organisation the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

The Assessment of Mental Capacity Audit Tool (AMCAT) has been designed to help professionals and carers evaluate and learn from capacity assessments they have made, to better equip them next time.

The tool, which takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete, generates a confidential report based on the user's responses to a series of questions about how they've carried out a mental capacity assessment. The individually generated PDF report includes advice and suggestions about how to carry out assessments in the future.

The website also provides real life scenarios of assessment practice, and a forum on which practitioners and carers can share their experiences and seek the views and support of others carrying out capacity assessments.

Tool seeks to improve implementation of the Mental Capacity Act

The AMCAT has been developed in response to concern that practitioners and carers are encountering difficulties in trying to implement the 2005 Mental Capacity Act (MCA). The legislation requires that frontline staff and carers are able to carry out capacity assessments on a regular basis.

The tool seeks to better equip individuals so that they feel more confident assessing capacity, and is the first online resource that enables users to gauge how their use of capacity assessments accords with the Code of Practice that accompanies the MCA.

Dr Paul Swift, Research Fellow for the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said:

There are millions of people around the country who may lack capacity to make a decision under the Mental Capacity Act, which means the many people that care for them need to be assured about making mental capacity assessments. The AMCAT is a free online tool that gives staff and carers a fantastic opportunity to see how they're doing with assessments and maybe think about ways in which they can improve.?

Funded by the Social Care Institute for Excellence

The AMCAT has been funded by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as part of a range of resources to support implementation of the MCA. David Walden, SCIE's director of adult services, said:

This online, open-access resource enhances involvement and engagement with service users, family carers and others when assessing mental capacity. The Assessment of Mental Capacity Audit Tool (AMCAT) is part of a suite of MCA audit tools, commissioned by SCIE, which will encourage reflective learning, leading to improved practice, knowledge and understanding of how to implement this aspect of the MCA amongst decision-makers working in health and social care.?

 

Source: Mental Health Foundation, UK..

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