People who lack capacity to make their own decisions about medical care are at risk when needing medication or surgical procedures. This can be because of gaps in understanding about the Mental Capacity Act or an unwillingness to take responsibility for the course of action under ‘Best Interest for the patient’. (set out in the Mental Capacity Act)
The Consent to Treatment for Best Interest Decision Making Toolkit is designed to support people who lack the mental capacity to make specific health and care decisions; removing or reducing risks and improving patient care.
The example below shows what can happen without guidelines:
Roger (aged 30) is needle phobic and unable to give consent to any treatment. His consultant agreed through Best Interest to use a mask instead for a medical procedure. Roger was given a mask to take home, so he could get used to the smell and having it on his face. However, when Roger arrived at the hospital he was told that they would use a needle and he might need to be held down to administer the injection. This option was refused, and Roger left without having the procedure. He did eventually have the medical procedure using the mask but the initial situation had caused Roger distress and would have had cost implications for the NHS.
A few months later Roger’s GP recommended he needed medication to help reduce his symptoms. Roger’s parents would not give consent to the prescribing of medication; leaving him in pain for the next 18 months. Eventually, a new GP followed the Best Interest process and prescribed the medication which has since stabilised Roger’s condition.
Irene Sobowale, CEO, The Disabilities Trust welcomes the Toolkit:
I am delighted that the Consent to Treatment for Best Interest Decision Making Toolkit has been developed by The Disabilities Trust and Healthwatch West Sussex. It will make a real difference to the lives of many vulnerable people. Supporting those who lack mental capacity to make specific health and care decisions will remove or reduce risks and improve patient care.
Download the toolkit
Decision-making around treatment should be a shared process between the Healthcare Professional and the patient but this cannot be the case when someone lacks capacity to make a decision around their treatment.
This pack contains tools to document this decision by the decision maker and all others who are involved in a best interest outcome.