An 'IMCA' is an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate and is a role that was created by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 ("MCA"). The role of the IMCA is to support people aged 16 or over who lack capacity where there are decisions to be made about their care and treatment and there is no family or suitable person other than professionals that can be involved in those decisions.
The starting point is therefore to ensure that there is an assessment of the individual's capacity for the particular decision that is to be taken. A person is assessed as lacking the ability to make a decision if they cannot do one or more of the following:
- understand information given to them about the decision
- retain the information for long enough to make the decision
- use or weigh up the information as part of the decision making process, and
- communicate their decision (this can be my any means possible).