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This book draws on clinical experience, case law and the developing research literature accrued during the six years that the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) have been in effect. It focuses on the theory underpinning the principles of this legislation and the practical challenges of applying it in clinical settings. It also compares and contrasts the remit of the Mental Capacity Act with that of the Mental Health Act, since there are occasions when either Act might be applicable.
The book is aimed at psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who treat individuals who lack capacity, and also at those called upon to guide and advise colleagues in acute hospitals and residential care settings about the assessment of capacity, DoLS and the appropriate use of best interests principles. It features an overview of the fundamental ethical and philosophical thinking that has shaped the MCA and case vignettes demonstrating best interests principles and the functional assessment of capacity. Examples, drawn from case law, typify clinical ambiguities in the assessment of capacity and medico-legal conundrums faced in the everyday application of the legislation are discussed. There is an introduction to DoLS legislature and the burgeoning case law that is arising in the context of its use. The contributors, who include both clinicians and clinical academics, have been chosen to ensure that both practical and research considerations pertaining to the statute are taken into account.