An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) must be involved if the person is deemed to lack capacity to make their own decisions about the issue to be decided when the person has neither family members nor friends whom it is appropriate to consult on their behalf AND the decision to be made is about serious medical treatment to be provided by the NHS, OR it is proposed that the person be moved into residential or nursing care for more than eight weeks, or hospital for more than 28 days.

An IMCA may also be involved if there are safeguarding issues (regardless of the involvement of friends or family members) or in relation to care reviews.

An IMCA will:

  • Support the person who lacks capacity and represent their views and interests to the decision maker (e.g. the doctor or social worker)
  • Obtain and evaluate information about the decision to be made
  • As far as possible, ascertain the person’s feelings, wishes, beliefs and values
  • Ascertain if there are alternative courses of action
  • Obtain a further medical opinion if necessary

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