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Capacity and consent: new tool to support your decision making

Does my patient have capacity to make this decision about their care? Is there a valid and applicable advance refusal of treatment? What should I do if my patient lacks capacity to consent to treatment and no one has been appointed to make decisions for them?

If you are in doubt about your patient’s capacity to make a decision about their treatment, a new interactive online tool will help you identify the steps you need to take.

Explore the mental capacity decision support tool

The tool draws on the principles in our guidance Consent: patients and doctors making decisions together and Treatment and care towards the end of life. It includes a case study at each stage of the decision-making process to show how our guidance applies to the clinical situations you may face.

The tool also features a range of downloadable resources, such as relevant guidance, a flowchart setting out all the steps in the tool, case studies, and a record to help you reflect on your skills and understanding.

Doctors working across the UK

The information in the tool takes account of the different legal frameworks for making decisions with adults who lack capacity to make their own decisions about health and care issues. The new Mental Capacity Act 2016 in Northern Ireland will change some parts of our advice, when it comes into force in a few years. But in the meantime, doctors working in Northern Ireland should still find this tool helpful.