According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, approximately two million people in England and Wales are believed to lack capacity to make decisions for themselves and an estimated six million people providing care for those who lack capacity.
The ability to make decisions is called mental capacity and the Mental Capacity Act covers all sorts of major decisions where a person is 16-years-old or above. It gives protection to people who lack capacity to make decisions about things like medical treatment, health and social care, financial, research arrangements and everyday decisions.
Some people may have difficulties making decisions all or some of the time. This could be because they have a learning disability, a brain injury or stroke, a mental health problem, dementia or other illnesses. However, with the right support many affected people can make decisions for themselves and the Mental Capacity Act makes this clear in its principles.
This Act therefore promotes and supports shared decision making between YOU and your health or social care worker.