The Mental Capacity Act 2005: a new framework for healthcare decision making

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Abstract

The Mental Capacity Act received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005, and it will be implemented in 2007. The Act defines when someone lacks capacity and it supports people with limited decision-making ability to make as many decisions as possible for themselves. The Act lays down rules for substitute decision making. Someone taking decisions on behalf of the person lacking capacity must act in the best interests of the person concerned and choose the options least restrictive of his or her rights and freedoms. Decision making will be allowed without any formal procedure unless specific provisions apply, such as a written advance decision, lasting powers of attorney or a decision by the court of protection.

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