What is meant by fluctuating capacity?

Asked By: Bea Sievers | Last Updated: 31st May, 2020
Category: medical health mental health
4.2/5 (99 Views . 31 Votes)
Fluctuating capacity refers to situations where a person's decision-making ability varies. The person may lack capacity at the time of one assessment, but the result may be di erent if a second assessment is undertaken during a lucid interval.

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Similarly, can mental capacity fluctuate?

People can lack capacity to make some decisions, but have capacity to make others. Mental capacity can also fluctuate with time – someone may lack capacity at one point in time, but may be able to make the same decision at a later point in time.

Secondly, who can assess for mental capacity? Normally, the person who is involved with the particular decision which needs to be made is the one who would assess mental capacity. If the decision is a complex one then a professional opinion might be necessary, for example the opinion of a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker etc.

Thereof, what is the definition of mental capacity?

'Mental capacity' means being able to make your own decisions. Someone lacking capacity - because of an illness or disability such as a mental health problem, dementia or a learning disability - cannot do one or more of the following four things: Understand information given to them about a particular decision.

How many stages are there in the test of mental capacity?

The test of capacity There is a two-stage test of capacity in order to decide whether an individual has the capacity to make a particular decision, this test must be applied.

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What is the 2 stage test of capacity?

The purpose of stage 2
The purpose of the functional test of capacity (stage 2) is to; Determine whether or not the person is unable to make their own decision; and. If they are not able to make their own decision, whether they are unable to do so as a result of the impairment or disturbance of their mind or brain.

What are the 5 principles of Mental Capacity Act?

Once you've decided that capacity is lacking, use principles 4 and 5 to support the decision-making process.
  • Principle 1: A presumption of capacity.
  • Principle 2: Individuals being supported to make their own decisions.
  • Principle 3: Unwise decisions.
  • Principle 4: Best interests.
  • Principle 5: Less restrictive option.

Does a person with dementia have capacity?

People with dementia often become unable to make some decisions for themselves as their condition progresses. When this happens, the person is said to 'lack capacity'. The Mental Capacity Act covers important decision-making relating to an individual's property, financial affairs, and health and social care.

What decisions are not covered by the Mental Capacity Act?

However, some types of decision can never be made by another person on your behalf, whether or not you lack mental capacity. These include decisions about marriage or civil partnership, divorce, sexual relationships, adoption and voting.

How do you determine capacity?


Capacity is a person's ability to make an informed decision. A determination of competency is a judicial finding made by the court. A physician can opine about a patient's capacity, but cannot determine competency. Adults are presumed to have capacity unless determined otherwise by the court.

What happens in a mental capacity assessment?

A Mental Capacity Assessment is not about a person's general cognitive ability or the extent of a person's memory. Instead, broadly speaking, it looks at whether that person can make a specific decision about a specific thing at a specific time. It's about a decision that needs to be made now.

Who can make a decision about mental capacity?

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA)
A person is not to be treated as lacking capacity because they make an unwise decision. Any decision made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be made in their best interests. Any act done on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be the least restrictive option.

How does mental health affect decision making?

The effects of mental health disorders can alter decision-making processes and compound the symptoms. That altered decision-making creates challenges for people trying to make good decisions for their own health, whether it's overcoming depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

What happens if someone lacks capacity?

A person lacks capacity if their mind is impaired or disturbed in some way, which means they're unable to make a decision at that time. Examples of how a person's brain or mind may be impaired include: mental health conditions – such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. dementia.

What is the capacity?


noun. The definition of capacity is the ability of someone or something to hold something. An example of capacity is how many people can fit in a room. An example of capacity is the amount of water a cup can hold.

Who decides if someone has capacity?

If a person lacks capacity, any decisions taken on their behalf must be in their best interests. (The act provides a checklist that all decision makers must work through when deciding what is in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity - see below.)

What are the five core principles?

Principle 1: Assume a person has capacity unless proved otherwise. Principle 3: A person should not be treated as incapable of making a decision because their decision may seem unwise. Principle 4: Always do things or take decisions for people without capacity in their best interests.

What questions are asked in a mental capacity assessment?

It is important to assess a person who may not have the capacity to make certain decisions.

You may want to ask the person the following questions:
  • how did you reach your decision?
  • what things were important to you when you were making your decision?
  • how did you balance those things when you were making your decision?

Does a person with learning disabilities lack capacity?

A person with a learning disability may lack the capacity to make major decisions, but this does not necessarily mean that they cannot decide what to eat, wear and do each day.

How do you do a mental capacity assessment?


The MCA says that a person is unable to make their own decision if they cannot do one or more of the following four things:
  1. Understand information given to them.
  2. Retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision.
  3. Weigh up the information available to make the decision.

Who makes the decision that a person is lacking mental capacity?

There are three ways to legally appoint someone to make decisions for someone who lacks mental capacity: Lasting Power of Attorney - You can make decisions on someone's behalf if they have appointed you using a lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

How do you know if someone lacks mental capacity?

If a person lacks capacity, they have an impairment or disturbance that leaves them unable to make a decision. The loss of capacity could be partial or temporary. It is possible for a person to lack capacity to make one specific decision but not about another.