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Hospital Clinicians’ Attitudes Towards a Statutory Advocacy Service for Patients Lacking Mental Capacity: Implications for Implementation

Hospital Clinicians’ Attitudes Towards a Statutory Advocacy Service for Patients Lacking Mental... ObjectivesTo examine attitudes to the Mental Capacity Act's new statutory Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service in England and Wales and consider the implications for its delivery.MethodsQuantitative data describing all referrals to the seven pilot IMCA services (January 2006-March 2007) and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with 18 doctors, 21 senior nurses and one discharge planning manager in four general hospitals in England.ResultsOf 127 hospital-based referrals to the seven pilot IMCA services, 29 (23%) were for patients facing serious medical treatments, 52% of whom were judged to lack decisionmaking capacity due to a learning disability; ninety-eight (77%) were for patients facing a change of accommodation upon hospital discharge, 62% of whom were elderly and lacked capacity due to dementia. While aware of the potential benefits of the IMCA service, clinicians were generally negative about the contribution advocates could make to patients’ medical care and thought they could only contribute usefully in a minority of ethically complicated decisions. In contrast, they were more positive about the involvement of advocates in hospital discharge decisions and hoped that they would improve current discharge practice.ConclusionsClinicians held ambivalent attitudes towards the involvement of a statutory IMCA service in medical decisions, reflecting beliefs that the service was largely impractical and unnecessary given current procedures for making medical decisions in patients’ ‘best interests’. Conversely, clinicians were more likely to support advocacy in discharge decisions because they believed that non-medically qualified advocates could make a valuable contribution to decisions that were seen as predominantly social and where practice was frequently considered deficient. By holding these beliefs, clinicians are failing to have due regard for the IMCA service as a statutory measure for safeguarding patients’ interests. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Health Services Research & Policy SAGE

Hospital Clinicians’ Attitudes Towards a Statutory Advocacy Service for Patients Lacking Mental Capacity: Implications for Implementation

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References (8)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2008 The Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd
ISSN
1355-8196
eISSN
1758-1060
DOI
10.1258/jhsrp.2007.007084
pmid
18416911
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ObjectivesTo examine attitudes to the Mental Capacity Act's new statutory Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service in England and Wales and consider the implications for its delivery.MethodsQuantitative data describing all referrals to the seven pilot IMCA services (January 2006-March 2007) and qualitative data from semi-structured interviews with 18 doctors, 21 senior nurses and one discharge planning manager in four general hospitals in England.ResultsOf 127 hospital-based referrals to the seven pilot IMCA services, 29 (23%) were for patients facing serious medical treatments, 52% of whom were judged to lack decisionmaking capacity due to a learning disability; ninety-eight (77%) were for patients facing a change of accommodation upon hospital discharge, 62% of whom were elderly and lacked capacity due to dementia. While aware of the potential benefits of the IMCA service, clinicians were generally negative about the contribution advocates could make to patients’ medical care and thought they could only contribute usefully in a minority of ethically complicated decisions. In contrast, they were more positive about the involvement of advocates in hospital discharge decisions and hoped that they would improve current discharge practice.ConclusionsClinicians held ambivalent attitudes towards the involvement of a statutory IMCA service in medical decisions, reflecting beliefs that the service was largely impractical and unnecessary given current procedures for making medical decisions in patients’ ‘best interests’. Conversely, clinicians were more likely to support advocacy in discharge decisions because they believed that non-medically qualified advocates could make a valuable contribution to decisions that were seen as predominantly social and where practice was frequently considered deficient. By holding these beliefs, clinicians are failing to have due regard for the IMCA service as a statutory measure for safeguarding patients’ interests.

Journal

Journal of Health Services Research & PolicySAGE

Published: Apr 1, 2008

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