NHS Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group have developed an online resource to empower patients and their families to engage as equal and informed participants with medical professionals.
This web-based resource will also support practitioners in providing high quality assessments of ‘capacity’ – whether a patient is able to make their own decisions – in line with the Mental Capacity Act. It is the first of its kind and is available for national use.
Vikki Gray, Safeguarding Manager at the CCGs, said: “We are all presumed to have capacity, but sometimes due to conditions that affect the mind or brain people may lack capacity to make their own decisions.
“It is not possible to know if someone lacks capacity without doing a capacity assessment.
“Examples of people who may lack capacity include those with dementia, a learning disability, a brain injury or patients who have had a stroke. These conditions may be temporary or permanent but it is important to be able to assess someone’s capacity to make a decision at a particular time.”
Assess Right has evolved from collaborative working with Bucks County Council, health colleagues and a service user and carer group. This work has been taken forward by the CCGs in Buckinghamshire to assist people involved in mental capacity assessments. It is available and accessible free of charge to all those who might need it, practitioners and members of the public alike.
Vikki Gray added: “This work has been inspired by a variety of situations and circumstances where service users, carers and practitioner’s experience uncertainty about when and how to assess capacity.
“The aim of Assess Right is to take the person completing the assessment through a series of steps with prompts that meets the criteria for assessing capacity and generates confidence in the user that the correct steps and stages have been followed. It is a tool to empower both the patient and the professional”
Assess Right, is a website developed by NHS Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs and available as a downloadable PDF free of charge at www.assessright.co.uk.