The inability to make a decision could be because of a learning disability, mental health problems, brain injury, dementia, alcohol or drug misuse, side effects of medical treatment or any other illness or disability. Click here for further information.
Both the Mental Capacity Act (2005) in England and Wales and the Adults with Incapacity Scotland Act (2000) identify the following components which determine whether or not someone has capacity to make their own decisions.
There are a number of additional assumptions that are central to determining whether or not someone has the capacity to make their own decisions:
• Every adult has the right to make decisions unless proved otherwise
• Everyone should be supported to make their own decisions
• People should be given the support they need
• People are entitled to make their decision – good or bad
• Each individual has a different capacity to make decisions about different aspects of their life.
We have been running seminars on how Talking Mats can be used to support a person’s capacity to make decisions.The diagram below illustrates some of the comments we received form participants at a recent seminar about the benefits of using Talking Mats to support decision making.
Click on the diagram to enlarge.
The process of completing a Talking Mat helps people retain their view and if they have memory problems the picture of the mat is a good prompt to enable recall.
Its worth noting that our brain processes visual images 60,000 faster than text!
Recently we delivered two Talking Mats specialist seminars in London:
Talking Mats and the Eating and Drinking resource
Talking Mats and Capacity
Both seminars were very well attended with lots of discussion from a wide range of professionals.
During the Eating and Drinking seminar, we provided background on how and why the resource was developed and showed some DVD examples of people using the resource. This really brought things to life and showed how important it is to give people (with and without speech) the opportunity to consider and talk about different aspects of eating and drinking. We also gave people hands-on practice in using the symbols from each topic. Each participant received a copy of the full resource, including symbols, a mat, and explanatory booklet.
During the Capacity seminar we discussed the fundamental principles the Capacity Act and participants had a chance to consider how Talking Mats can help people to:
weigh up information
communicate their views/wishes and feelings.
They were also given the opportunity to work through some practical examples and think about options to help people understand issues and make decisions.