Health and welfare decisions

Where there is concern that an adult lacks capacity to make a particular decision the principles and procedures set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) must be followed in order to ensure that capacity is properly assessed and that any decision taken on behalf of a person who lacks capacity (P) is taken in their best interests.

Best interests decisions about health and welfare can range from routine decisions such as what P should eat, drink or wear that day to significant life changing decisions including:-

  • Where they should to live
  • What care they should receive
  • Whether they should undergo a particular medical treatment
  • Whether life sustaining treatment should be withdrawn
  • Who they should have contact with
  • Whether they are able to consent to marriage and/or sexual relations
  • Whether they are being unlawfully deprived of their liberty

Routine day-to-day best interests decisions are usually taken by those directly responsible for P’s care i.e. family members or carers. Significant decisions such as those concerning medical treatment and social care are normally taken by professionals directly involved in P’s treatment and care.  When medical or social care professionals make decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity they must ensure that capacity and best interests assessments are undertaken in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. For more significant decisions, this will usually involve holding a best interests meeting and inviting all interested parties (including close family, friends and carers) along to take part in discussions and to voice their opinions.

Our team of specialist lawyers are experienced in supporting and representing family members at best interests meetings and we will ensure that your views concerning your loved one’s best interests are afforded proper weight in the decision making process. We can also advise on what steps to take if you disagree with a best interests decision that has been taken on behalf of your loved one.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance.