Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy
The Act sets out processes which must be followed when a person can´t make their own decisions:
- Who can take decisions for that person
- In what situations
- How these decisions must be reached.
The Act has five key principles which must be followed:
- It must be assumed that a person has capacity until proven otherwise
- People should be supported to make their own decisions
- People should not be treated differently as if they lack capacity just because they have made an "unwise" choice
- When a person lacks capacity everything done for them must be in their best interests
- All decisions made must be the least restrictive of freedom.
The role of the (IMCA)
Independent Mental Health Advocate
An IMCA´s role is to support people who may lack capacity to ensure that decisions are taken appropriately.
Local Authorities and NHS Bodies have a legal duty to instruct an IMCA when making the following decisions for a person:
- Serious medical treatment (Section 37)
- The Local Authority is proposing to arrange accommodation for someone for longer than 8 weeks (Section 38)
- The NHS Body is proposing to arrange accommodation for someone for longer than 28 days (Section 39)
- IMCA´s may also act during
- Care Reviews
- Adult Protection
What an IMCA will do:
- Represent a person
- Establish a person´s feelings, wishes, values, and beliefs where possible
- Be an independent support for a person during decision making processes
- Safeguard a Persons Rights as set out in the Mental Capacity Act
- Consult with those around an individual
- Review Health and Social Care Records (Section 35(6)(b)) and other relevant information
- Get second opinions
- Review different options for a person
- Challenge decisions when needed
- Produce reports to inform decision makers
- Refer a person on for ongoing Advocacy Support.
What an IMCA will not do:
- Access a person´s capacity
- Make decisions for a person or a decision maker
- Replace the role of decision maker
- Work with a person forever.