What is mental capacity?

Every day we make decisions about lots of things in our lives. The ability to make decisions is called mental capacity. People may have difficulties making some decisions either all or some of the time.

This could be because they have: 

  • a learning disability
  • dementia
  • a mental health problem
  • a brain injury or a stroke

The Mental Capacity Act for England and Wales will affect people in these situations. It will also affect their families, carers, health and social care staff, and other people who may have contact with them.

The Act could cover all sorts of major decisions where a person may lack capacity, about things like social care, medical treatment and research arrangements, financial matters as well as everyday decisions like what to eat and what to wear.

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