Will taking part in a Mental Capacity assessment upset my loved one?

“I really hope the mental capacity assessment does not upset them” is a worry that we hear often as Mental Capacity Assessors at Thornton & Lee. Whilst we cannot guarantee that an assessment of mental capacity will be an enjoyable experience for the individual 100 percent of the time, what we can promise is this; that each and every appointment, which is undertaken by our independent Social Workers at Thornton & Lee, is approached with the upmost kindness and respect for all those involved, at all times. We do this by using a strength based and conversational approach.

What is Strengths based Social Work?

Strengths-based approaches focus on an individuals strengths (including personal strengths and social and community networks) and not on their deficits. At Thornton & Lee we take care and time collecting background information about the individual ahead of the appointment, often asking permission to speak to a trusted family member or friend who knows the individual well prior to the appointment. We are curious and interested in learning about the individual as a whole person, including learning about the individual’s childhood, career, and areas in which they may have previously held passionate hobbies or interests. We view this as important, so we are able to offer the individual encouragement during the assessment to access memories stored away in their long term memory, chatting stories of siblings, parents, gardening, or evacuation during the war for example. This approach allows us to weave in evidence-based questions salient for the Mental Capacity Assessment which they are unlikely to be able to answer, without leaving them feeling disempowered or embarrassed that they cannot recall from their short-term memory details about their financial affairs or current care needs.

Do you have to advise my loved one of the Mental Capacity Assessment outcome?

We are obliged to have open and transparent discussions with the individual at the end of their assessment, advising of our assessment conclusion and what will happen next. However, this is intentionally pitched in a friendly, warm and compassionate manner. We also ensure we offer the individual the opportunity to ask us any questions they might have.

Leaving the individual we have assessed in a similar or even better mood than what we found them, is the goal for us at every appointment, and we mostly receive feedback after the appointment that the individual rather enjoyed the chat! Now that is job satisfaction.

Contact us today if you have concerns about an assessment which you’d like to discuss with one of our friendly and experienced Independent Social Workers.