Author(s): Menon S
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Abstract The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) came into effect in March 2010 but the impact of this groundbreaking legislation on the doctor-patient relationship has not yet been studied in Singapore. It is evident that communication between healthcare professionals, patients and their loved ones has never been so critical. Translating this into practice, healthcare professionals must identify the decision-maker to obtain consent from the correct person. Consent for healthcare and treatment must be obtained from the patient with capacity or the patient's legally appointed proxy decision-maker under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) where the patient lacks capacity. However, the doctor is the decision-maker for patients lacking capacity in matters of life-sustaining treatment or treatment to prevent a serious deterioration of the patient's health. All decisions made on behalf of persons lacking capacity must be made in their best interests. Capacity assessments must be properly conducted and if a patient has the capacity to make the decision then healthcare professionals must take practicable steps to help them make a decision.
This article was published in Ann Acad Med Singapore
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine