Capacity Assessment

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There are three main areas of decision-making: personal, health-related, and financial. Personal decisions include those concerning accommodation and lifestyle, health-related decisions include managing medications, making an Advance Care Directive, or consenting to surgery, and financial decisions include managing bank accounts, agreeing to the cost of care services, managing the lease or sale of a property, or writing a will.

Where a question arises about a person’s capacity to make a significant decision, the need for a capacity assessment is triggered. A capacity assessment consists of three main parts: (1) interviewing, observing, and interacting with the patient; (2) obtaining and analysing collateral information, and (3) a formal capacity evaluation including a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, review of medical files and previous reports, and psychiatric evaluation. Such a comprehensive approach ensures the most accurate conclusions being drawn about a person’s ability to make a particular decision, whether it be personal, health-related or financial.  Clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists bear a great responsibility when assessing capacity, as such accessing highly qualified and experienced clinicians are essential when questions about capacity arise.

Questions of capacity may arise when changes are made to a will, when someone wants to appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney or refuses medical treatment, to name but a few instances. The medical conditions that may cause concerns around a person's capacity include stroke, dementia, and intellectual impairment.  

To discuss your concerns relating to capacity or to book an assessment please contact Dr Anna Miskovic-Wheatley at Sage Clinical Psychology on 0458 507 772 or click here.

For more information related to capacity see