Mental capacity tool

A doctor consulting with his patient

Using our mental capacity tool

Our interactive tool will help you identify the right steps to take if you’re unsure about a patient’s capacity to make a decision.  It will help you assess a patient's capacity. And if your patient lacks capacity, it will help you to make a decision on how to proceed.

It draws on the principles in our guidance, Decision making and consent and Treatment and care towards the end of life and takes account of the different legal frameworks in the UK.

The tool includes case studies to show how the guidance applies in practice. And you can check your skills and understanding using the reflections record.

What the mental capacity tool doesn’t do

This tool will not help you to assess a patient’s capacity to make decisions about wider issues such as friendships or sexual relationships. While some of the principles are the same, there are other things to consider if you’re asked to do this eg safeguarding policies and legislation. In this case you should seek advice from experienced colleagues.

This tool is not about mental health treatment decisions.