Our values and guiding principles when working with vulnerable adults and young people:
1. Everyone should be physically and psychologically safe.
2. Decisions are made with transparency, building and maintaining trust.
3. Appreciation of shared experiences and expert by experience.
4. Collaboration between care staff, family & our service users is essential – reducing power struggles.
5. To empower others increases innovation, kindness, safety and cost-effectiveness.
6. Equality and diversity are celebrated.
You may ask how does this relate to completing a mental capacity assessment? Every principle can be applied to working with solicitors, clients, family, other professionals and the wider community. We want people to feel safe and believed. Decisions should be made with transparency, such as when making decisions regarding someone’s care.
Acknowledging that power struggles do exist, but making an effort to reduce the impact of these on vulnerable people is extremely important. Do you know how to empower others? Well, it’s helping people to remain in control of their own lives for as long as possible and respecting differences. Capacious people are allowed to make unwise decisions and as you know mental capacity assessments must be decision specific, capacity must be assumed until proven otherwise. So offering meaningful choices might be something you can do.
Equality and diversity have become a hot topic and unfortunately, it is not widely understood (in my experience). Let’s accept that not everyone is the same and should be treated the same way. I see the person as an individual and try to treat everyone equally, sometimes reasonable adjustments are required to help the person. Everyone is unique and we all have something to offer. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to implement these principles so training care staff is essential.