1.4 Outline key legislation in relation to the support and protection of individuals with dementia

1.4 Outline key legislation in relation to the support and protection of individuals with dementia

Dementia Awareness

Care Learning

6 mins READ

This guide will help you answer the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Award in Awareness of Dementia Unit 1.4 Outline key legislation in relation to the support and protection of individuals with dementia.

Supporting and protecting individuals with dementia requires adhering to several pieces of key legislation.

Each piece of legislation plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety, dignity, and rights of those affected by dementia.

Below, we outline the most important laws that carers and healthcare workers need to be aware of.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

Purpose

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is essential for individuals with dementia. It provides a framework to empower and protect people who may not be able to make their own decisions due to a lack of mental capacity.

Key Principles

  • Assumption of Capacity: Everyone is assumed to have capacity unless proven otherwise.
  • Right to Make Unwise Decisions: Having the mental capacity to make a decision includes making decisions that others might consider unwise.
  • Best Interests: Any decision made on behalf of a person lacking capacity must be done in their best interest.
  • Least Restrictive Option: Any action taken should be the least restrictive of the individual’s rights and freedoms.

Importance for Dementia Care

The Act ensures that carers and healthcare professionals respect the autonomy of individuals with dementia for as long as possible. When necessary, it provides clear guidelines for making decisions on their behalf.

The Care Act 2014

Purpose

The Care Act 2014 is comprehensive legislation focusing on the well-being of individuals needing care and support, including those with dementia.

Key Provisions

  • Well-being Principle: The Act places an emphasis on individual well-being, including personal dignity and control over day-to-day life.
  • Carer’s Rights: Recognises and supports the rights of carers by assessing their needs and providing support.
  • Safeguarding: Introduces statutory safeguarding duties to protect adults at risk, which includes many individuals with dementia.

Impact on Dementia Care

This legislation ensures that individuals with dementia receive person-centred care that focuses on their holistic well-being. Carers also get the support they need, enhancing the overall care quality.

The Human Rights Act 1998

Purpose

The Human Rights Act 1998 integrates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. These rights apply to everyone, including individuals with dementia.

Key Rights

  • Right to Life (Article 2): Protects the right to life, requiring public authorities to take appropriate steps to safeguard it.
  • Right to Respect for Private and Family Life (Article 8): Protects an individual’s privacy, personal choices, and relationships.
  • Prohibition of Torture (Article 3): Ensures no one is subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.

Significance for Dementia Care

These rights underpin all aspects of care and support, ensuring that individuals with dementia are treated with respect and dignity. Any form of inhumane or degrading treatment is untenable under this Act.

The Equality Act 2010

Purpose

The Equality Act 2010 consolidates and simplifies previous anti-discrimination laws. Its aim is to protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

Protected Characteristics

  • Disability: Dementia is considered a disability under this Act, providing protections against discrimination based on an individual’s condition.
  • Other Characteristics: Age, sex, race, and several other protected characteristics also ensure comprehensive non-discriminatory policies.

Relevance to Dementia

The Act requires reasonable adjustments in various settings (e.g., workplaces, public services) to accommodate individuals with dementia. It ensures they have equal access and opportunities.

The Data Protection Act 2018

Purpose

The Data Protection Act 2018 implements the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the UK. It governs the way personal data is collected, stored, and used.

Key Principles

  • Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: Data must be processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently.
  • Purpose Limitation: Data should only be collected for specified, legitimate purposes.
  • Data Minimisation: Only necessary data should be collected and processed.
  • Accuracy: Data must be kept accurate and up-to-date.

Importance in Dementia Care

For individuals with dementia, ensuring their personal data is managed correctly is critical. Sensitive information must be protected to prevent misuse and breaches of confidentiality.

The Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 2007)

Purpose

This Act provides regulations for the treatment of individuals with mental health conditions, including dementia, particularly if they require compulsory detention or treatment.

Key Provisions

  • Assessment and Treatment: Conditions under which individuals can be assessed and treated against their will if necessary.
  • Sections and Compulsory Measures: Provides details on various sections under which individuals can be detained.

Application in Dementia Care

The Act is used in specific, often severe, cases where individuals with dementia may pose a risk to themselves or others. It ensures there are legal safeguards and a clear process for compulsory treatment.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Purpose

Introduced in 2009, DoLS are amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They are designed to protect individuals who are deprived of their liberty in care homes or hospitals due to their lack of mental capacity.

Criteria

  • Best Interests: Any deprivation of liberty must be in the person’s best interest.
  • Least Restrictive: Explore and implement the least restrictive ways of providing necessary care.

Importance for Dementia Support

DoLS ensure that individuals with dementia are not unnecessarily or inappropriately deprived of liberty. It provides a legal framework for necessary restrictions on freedom while ensuring rights are protected.

Example answers for unit 1.4 Outline key legislation in relation to the support and protection of individuals with dementia

Below are example answers written from the perspective of a care worker completing Unit 1.4 for the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Award in Awareness of Dementia.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is really important when caring for people with dementia. It provides guidelines to make sure we support their decision-making abilities as much as possible.

  • Principles: This Act is based on key principles such as assuming everyone has capacity unless it’s proven that they don’t. People with dementia can still make decisions, even if they seem unwise. We need to act in their best interests if they can’t decide for themselves and choose the least restrictive option.
  • In My Role: For example, if a resident with dementia can’t decide what they want for lunch, I consider their likes and dislikes, and choose what I believe they would enjoy, respecting their dignity and preferences.

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is all about the well-being of individuals who require care, including those with dementia. It ensures their personal dignity, independence, and control over their lives.

  • Well-being Principle: The Act emphasises treating people with respect and supporting their overall well-being.
  • Carer’s Rights: It recognises and supports the rights of carers, helping them to continue providing care.
  • Safeguarding: It includes duties to protect people at risk of abuse, which is crucial for many with dementia.
  • Application: I use this Act to ensure every care plan is person-centred. For instance, I discuss with family members to make sure we provide care that aligns with the individual’s preferences and needs while supporting family carers with their concerns.

The Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 ensures everyone’s fundamental rights are protected, including those of individuals with dementia.

  • Key Rights: Rights like the right to life, the right to respect for private and family life, and the prohibition of inhumane treatment shouldn’t be violated.
  • Importance in My Job: I respect residents’ privacy when providing personal care. For example, I make sure bathroom doors are closed and only essential staff are present. I also report any concerns about potential abuse to ensure all residents are safe.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 helps protect individuals from discrimination in various settings, including care environments.

  • Protected Characteristics: It covers dementia under disability, ensuring individuals aren’t discriminated against based on their condition. It also considers other characteristics like age and sex, ensuring comprehensive protections.
  • Application in Care: I make reasonable adjustments to support residents with dementia. For example, clear signage and easy-to-read clocks can help residents feel more comfortable and independent in the care setting.

The Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 covers how personal data should be handled, ensuring it’s collected, stored, and used appropriately.

  • Key Principles: Including the idea that data should be processed lawfully, kept safe, used for specific purposes, and kept accurate and up-to-date.
  • In Practice: I ensure that sensitive information, like medical records, is confidential and only shared with those who need to know. For example, when discussing a resident’s care plan, I make sure it’s in a private setting where confidentiality is maintained.

The Mental Health Act 1983 (Amended 2007)

The Mental Health Act 1983 outlines how to manage the compulsory treatment and detention of individuals with mental health conditions, including dementia.

  • Conditions: It explains when individuals can be assessed and treated against their will if they pose a danger to themselves or others.
  • In My Role: This Act is crucial when a resident with dementia might need immediate intervention for their safety. I make sure any such actions follow the legal criteria and involve the necessary professionals.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

The DoLS amendments to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 protect individuals who are deprived of their liberty to ensure it’s done legally and appropriately.

  • Criteria: Any deprivation must be in the person’s best interest and be the least restrictive option.
  • In Practice: If a resident needs to be deprived of liberty for safety, I ensure that all proper procedures are followed. We get the necessary authorisations and regularly review them to safeguard the resident’s rights.

Conclusion

Understanding this legislation helps me provide the best care for individuals with dementia. It ensures they are treated with respect, dignity, and that their legal and human rights are protected. By following these laws, I can offer safe, person-centred care that supports the well-being of both residents and their carers.


Conclusion

Understanding and applying these pieces of legislation is vital for anyone supporting and protecting individuals with dementia. Each law provides specific guidelines and protections that collectively ensure the care provided respects the rights, dignity, and well-being of individuals with dementia.

By adhering to these legislative frameworks, you can ensure that the individuals you care for receive the best possible support and their legal and human rights are upheld.

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