Competence, capacity and decision-making ability in mental disorder

Dr Justine McCulloch and Dr Mark Taylor

60 minutes


May 2021

Learning module

CPD domain:
Clinical, Professional

Competence and capacity.jpg

Historically, individuals with mental disorder were often considered to suffer from a global inability to make decisions for themselves, and as such lost all right to self-determination.

Recent decades have seen advances in bioethics as well as movement by the psychiatric profession from paternalism towards respect for patient autonomy. However, this can at times lead to philosophical, ethical and societal dilemmas.

This module offers guidance on:

  • the philosophical issues underlying competence, capacity and decision-making,
  • consent,
  • the legal background,
  • recent statutory developments,
  • the assessment tools,
  • the evidence base.


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