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Mental Capacity Act practice guidance

Part 25

MCA and untrained workers

All staff who may work with anyone over the age of 16 who may lack capacity, need to have training in the Mental Capacity Act. All staff need to be aware of the MCA Principles, of how the MCA describes capacity, of decision-specific assessments of capacity and how someone’s best interests should be determined. (Part 2: The Principles) (Part 6: How to assess capacity) (Part 8: Best interests decisions)

The MCA does not require particular training or qualification to undertake any of the roles or tasks.

This means that any member of staff could be the decision-maker and may be responsible for making capacity assessments and best interests assessments. If an unqualified member of staff is in a position to be commissioning care, writing care plans or making significant decisions about someone’s accommodation or care, they need to follow the guidance about making and recording decisions. (Part 6: How to assess capacity) (Part 8: Best interests decisions) (Part 10: How to record decisions)

Unqualified care or nursing staff are likely to be delivering a lot of hands on care. Someone’s capacity to consent to this and their best interests may change frequently and staff need to be aware of this. Unqualified staff would not be expected to undertake a full capacity assessment each time they deliver care. They need to reasonably believe that the person lacks capacity to make a decision about the care and that the care is in their best interests.

Unqualified staff are responsible for passing on information about any changes in someone’s capacity to the person responsible for making decisions or writing the care plan. Qualified staff who commission care or write care plans need to include an assessment of the person’s capacity and best interests. They need to include some direction for staff who will be delivering the care about what is in the person’s best interests.