Consent and How it can Change According to What Decisions Need to be Taken

What is meant by the term ‘Consent’

  • To consent to something means to agree to it. It can be verbal or written.
  • A person is consenting if they agree to something when they have capacity to make the choice

If someone needs to give their consent to something which you need to do you must make sure that they are making an independent and informed choice.   The person needs to understand the consequences of the choice they are making and the consequences of any alternative choices open to them as well as being able to say yes or no.

For example: someone may say they never wish to have a wash or change their clothes, but do they understand that this could have serious consequences for their health and wellbeing? If they do not understand this then they do not have the capacity to make this type of decision if they do understand it they have a right to make a decision which others may consider unwise.

How consent can change according to what decisions need to be taken

There are different ages at which people have the legal right to consent to different things e.g. if they have mental capacity they can get married at 16 but only with parental consent. At 18 a person can marry without parental consent.

Some decisions involving consent fall outside of the Mental Capacity Act because they can only be made by an adult with mental capacity. These decisions can never be made by someone else in the best interests of a person who lacks capacity. Examples include:

  • The decision to marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • Consent to having sex
  • Consent to a decree of divorce on grounds of two years’ separation
  • Consent to placing a child for adoption/a child’s adoption order

Use to answer question 9.6c of the Care Certificate

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