Assessing residents capacity to decide on vaccination

Assessing residents’ capacity to make a decision on vaccination

A reminder of the principles of the Mental Capacity Act

  • Assume a person has the capacity to make a decision themselves, unless it’s proved otherwise
  • Wherever possible, help people to make their own decisions
  • Don’t treat a person as lacking the capacity to decide just because they make an unwise decision
  • If you make a decision for someone who does not have capacity, it must be in their best interests
  • Treatment and care provided to someone who lacks capacity should be the “least restrictive” of their basic rights and freedoms
  • Remember that a capacity assessment is for a specific decision
  • People can lack capacity to make some decisions but have capacity to make other decisions
  • Mental capacity can fluctuate with time
  • Read NICE guidance on decision making and capacity


Capacity assessment process

  • Does the person have an impairment of their mind or brain?
  • Does the impairment mean the person is unable to make a specific decision when they need to?

The Mental Capacity Act says that a person is unable to make a decision if they cannot:

  • Understand the information relevant to the decision
  • Retain that information
  • Use or weigh up that information as part of the process of making the decision

Before deciding a person lacks capacity it is important to take steps to enable them to try to make the decision themselves.

  • National Capacity Forum held a useful webinar on capacity – you can find more information here
  • A London webinar was recently held on the Mental Capacity Act – you can find the slides here


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