Mental Capacity Act: the role of the IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate)

What is the video about?

Actors have been used in this short film.

This drama is set in a care home for older people. Peter Robinson has dementia and concern about his eating has led to a discussion by medical staff as to whether he should have a PEG (a tube for feeding directly into the stomach) fitted. Mr Robinson has been assessed as lacking capacity to make this decision himself.  Because he has very limited contact with family, an IMCA is instructed by the doctor to represent him in this best interests decision.

The film shows the role of the IMCA – which includes communicating with the person who lacks capacity, consulting others and writing a report. It also shows how important the care worker’s knowledge of Mr Robinson is for the best interests decision.

Learning support materials have been developed for both care workers and professionals to accompany this film.

Messages for practice

  1. The Mental Capacity Act provides an extra safeguard for people who lacks capacity to make serious medical treatment decisions and who don’t have family or friends who can represent them. In such cases, an IMCA must be instructed to support the person.
  2. The person’s doctor must decide what is in their best interests. The IMCA is instructed by the doctor.
  3. Sometimes it can be very hard to find out from a person what their views and wishes are about treatment.
  4. Paid carers may have know a person very well and their thoughts about the person’s views and wishes should inform the decision about treatment.
  5. The IMCA may include information from carers in their IMCA report to the doctor.

Who will find this useful?

Care workers; IMCAs; professionals who make best interests decisions, including doctors and social workers.