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In addition to the legal aspects already discussed in the article, other issues arise that are relevant to the case study and accident and emergency (A&E) nurses.
Practical application of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005
Once the decision has been made that a patient lacks the requisite mental capacity (as defined in the MCA 2005) to make their own decisions, then the provisions of the Act will apply. A check must be made to ascertain if the patient in question has drawn up an advance decision that covers their present situation and/or if the patient has set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA). LPA gives power to a ‘donee’ to make personal welfare decisions on behalf of an individual at a time when the individual can no longer make such decisions (George and Dimond, 2007). If neither advance decision nor LPA exists, then decisions must be made in the best interests of the patient. While the MCA 2005 does not define ‘best interests’, it does set out the steps that should be taken to ascertain the best interests of the mentally incapacitated adult. One of the important requirements of the Act that applies to the situation …
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