Capacity assessments are decision- and time-specific and involve time spent with the individual and writing a report with conclusions and recommendations. Time is also needed to prepare materials relating to the area of life that is being explored, to ensure that maximum effort is being put into helping the person understand the information relating to the decision.
The Mental Capacity Act, Sections 1, 2 and 3 respectively state that a person:
- is assumed to have capacity unless the contrary is established, should not be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help them do so have been taken and should not be treated as unable to make a decision simply because the decision made is deemed unwise
- lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the time they are unable to make a decision for themselves in relation to that matter because of an impairment of or disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain
- is unable to make a decision for themselves if they are unable to understand the information relevant to the decision; retain the information relevant to the decision; use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision; or communicate the decision (by whatever means).