Mental Capacity Assessments: The Assessment of Mental Capacity Audit Tool (AMCAT)

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Mental capacity means the ability to make decisions for oneself. In England and Wales mental capacity issues are covered by the Mental Capacity Act which came into force in 2007. People with serious mental health problems, people with learning disabilities and people with dementia may lack the capacity to make many decisions for themselves.

In order to find out if a person has the capacity to make a decision the process for assessing capacity described in the Mental Capacity Act must be followed.

The Mental Health Foundation has developed online resources to help staff working in health and social care (including those in the private and voluntary sectors) as well as unpaid carers, to improve the way they assess mental capacity. One of these resources is the Assessment of Mental Capacity Audit Tool (AMCAT) which was launched in February 2010 and provides a free, confidential and simple way for staff working in health and social care settings to audit and evaluate mental capacity assessment of individuals that they have been involved with.

The tool also provides an instantaneous, automated report that indicates to the person who has completed the tool how well the assessment accorded with the Mental Capacity Act and its Code of Practice.

Aggregated data from the AMCAT has been used to indicate how well the Act is being used in relation to assessments of mental capacity. This information is contained in a report called Mental Capacity Assessments: Working in practice? (PDF file, 30KB)

The tool was developed with the support of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).

Toby Williamson
Toby Williamson

Toby specialises in mental health in later life, dementia and mental capacity.