Reflecting on values and bias in mental capacity decision-making


How we think about and work with mental capacity has changed over time and much needs to be done to raise awareness and challenge assumptions that are often made about a person’s capacity based on their condition or diagnosis.

When using the Mental Capacity Act (2005), it is important to appreciate the ethical elements involved, for example:

  • How do your values and beliefs influence your professional decisions?
  • How are your values formed through relationships with others and the wider environment?

It is important to be mindful about how your values and beliefs can influence your professional decisions, including how your values are formed through relationships with others and the wider environment. The MCA sets out to remove from the assessment process contested values, such as you imposing your will on a patient. However, MCA assessments are not ‘value neutral’ and it is vital to reflect on the way that societal values, professional values, personal values and the values of the service user influence the assessment process.