An IMCA or an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate represents and can speak on behalf of people who lack the capacity to make decisions – especially when important decisions are being made. According to the Mental Capacity Act (2005) people who may have difficulties making decisions and choices about their lives have an absolute right to an IMCA. The local authorities hold the responsibility to appoint an IMCA for an individual. The Act intends to protect and empower people who may not be able to make their own decisions. This may be due to the result of brain injury, dementia, stroke, learning difficulties or mental health needs. The Act ensures that people are presumed to have capacity to make decisions unless a Responsible Clinician, or select Mental Health Professionals assesses otherwise. These assessments should take place prior to any IMCA involvement.
How Can an IMCA Help?
An IMCA will listen to their client and can liaise with other professionals involved in their care. Some of examples of situations that IMCAs can support with are:
- Serious medical treatments
- Hospital or care home transfers
- Important meetings such as Care Reviews
- Safeguarding matters
- Support you in making Advance Decisions about your care
An IMCA is independent from the care team of a client and can:
- Meet with clients in private
- Consult with professionals involved in client care
- Provide information about client rights, the social care system and the Mental Capacity Act
- Access client medical records
- Question decisions that are being made about client care
- Challenge decisions that a client may disagree with
An IMCA cannot:
- Make the decision for a client
- Tell a client what to do
There are 4 main elements to IMCA involvement:
- Ascertaining the views, feelings, wishes, beliefs and values of the person and ensuring that those views are communicated to, and considered by, the decision-maker.
- Non-instructed advocacy. Asking questions on behalf of the person and representing them. Making sure the person’s rights are upheld and that they are kept involved and at the centre of the decision-making process.
- Investigating Circumstances. Gathering and evaluating information from relevant professionals and people who know the person well. Carrying out research relating to the decision.
- Auditing the decision-making process. Checking that the decision-maker is acting in accordance with the Act and that the decision is being made in the person’s best interests. Challenging the decision if necessary,
What Training is Available?
At Advent Advocacy, training related to IMCA includes topics such as:
- Completing Mental Capacity Assessments, including how to write a Mental Capacity Assessment
- How the Mental Capacity Act relates to individual care plans
- How the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act intertwine
- Understanding the role of an IMCA
- Making decisions under the Mental Capacity Act
Advent Advocacy have provided a nationwide advocacy service since 2007.
Advent Advocacy offers a range of advocacy services including Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), Care Act Advocacy, Childrens and Young Persons Advocacy, Generic & and Non-Instructed Advocacy services nationwide.
Our independent mental health advocacy services are available throughout the UK.
Call us at 01325 776 554 for more information.