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Supporting decision making - Mental Capacity Action Day 2017

If you want to see a day when the professionals and those on the receiving end of mental capacity come together, it happened last Monday (27 February) at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The National Mental Capacity Action day exuded empowerment. Professionals from across all sectors shared their innovative projects to ensure that the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is implemented. Banks and Building societies, utility companies and many others are all aware of the need to ensure that staff feel able to respond to the needs of the person in front of them. For example, Centrica have three members of staff to train their 30,000 workforce and change behaviours to the benefit of those with impaired capacity and are building on their Dementia Friends training to do this.

The Baked Beans theatre group shared their first-hand experience of barriers and prejudices through a series of short and brilliantly funny sketches. They use humour to change attitudes with effect. The Include Choir, whose members have a wide of different disabilities, had the whole audience tapping their feet and singing along to Include’s specially written song about the Mental Capacity Act.

Tim Farmer, author of ‘Grandpa on a Skateboard’ engaged everyone in understanding how to assess capacity for ‘that decision at that time’ and how to differentiate an unwise decision from one made by a person lacking capacity for that specific decisions.

Every workshop widened the horizons of attendees. Of course ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ – and many ‘experts’ were amazed at how much they learnt on the day. The ethos of the day revealed the extent to which empowerment and safeguarding are different and that in any organisation the lead on the MCA and the safeguarding lead should not be one and the same person.

The day was invigorating for all. It proved that the last 18 months have seen a phenomenal amount of activity to empower those with impaired capacity, to support them in making their own decisions as much as possible and in helping them have the right to a normal life in society.

The next exciting day is coming – it's the Mental Capacity Research Action Day in City Hall, Cardiff on Thursday 16 March. It aims to ensure that research finds the evidence to lead best practice and works ever more closely who can be the beneficiaries of such evidence.

For more information on the National Mental Capacity Forum visit SCIE

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