The council has to make sure that, as far as possible, you are involved in decisions made about you and your care and support. This includes helping you to understand how you can be involved, how you can contribute and take part and sometimes lead or direct the process. You should be an active partner in your care and support assessment, your care and support planning and any reviews.
No matter how complex your needs are, we will:
- involve you
- help you express your wishes and feelings
- support you to weigh up options, and make your own decisions.
In order to decide whether we think you need support to be involved, we must consider whether you would have substantial difficulty in any of the four following areas. If, because of an impairment or disturbance of the mind or brain, you are unable to do any one of these four (with regard to a decision that needs to be made), then you would be deemed to lack capacity to make the decision for yourself.
Understanding relevant information
Many people can be supported to understand relevant information, if it is presented appropriately and if time is taken to explain it. Some people, however, will not be able to understand relevant information, for example if they have mid-stage or advanced dementia.
If a person is unable to retain information long enough to be able to weigh up options and make decisions, then they are likely to have substantial difficulty in engaging and being involved in the process.
Using or weighing the information as part of engaging
A person must be able to weigh up information, in order to participate fully and express preferences for or choose between options. For example, they need to be able to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of moving into a care home or accepting or rejecting medical treatment. If they are unable to do this, they will have substantial difficulty in engaging and being involved in the process.
Communicating their views, wishes and feelings
A person must be able to communicate their views, wishes and feelings whether by talking, writing, signing or any other means, to aid the decision making process and to make priorities clear. If they are unable to do this, they will have substantial difficulty in engaging and being involved in the process.
Substantial difficulty in any of these four areas (as defined by the Care Act means you are likely to be unable to be fully involved with care and support processes. If this is the case, we need to consider whether there is someone else appropriate to support you as an ‘advocate’.
An advocate may be a family member, carer or friend or, if there isn’t anyone appropriate, a professional independent advocate. This advocate must support and represent you in meetings with doctors and other professionals.
You may have a legal right to a ‘statutory advocate’ to speak on your behalf if it is agreed that someone is required to support you to express your wishes or speak on your behalf. If you don't already have a friend or family member who can support you in this way, we can arrange for you do have an advocate.