Volume 11, Issue 2: Mental Ill HealthAuthor: Samantha McCabe-Hogan
Mental Ill Health: Mental Capacity Act or Mental Health Act?
It’s 10pm and you have been on shift for 3 hours, you jump as the radio goes off – a 40-year-old female who has overdosed intentionally on prescription medication. Do you know how to manage both the treatment and the legislation to help this patient?
When dealing with any patient that has taken a decision to take all of their pain medication and understands that death is a possible consequence, there are several decisions that need to be made, and often a paramedic will have to consider all treatment avenues in managing patients including legislation.
This issue will help you understand how best to assess and manage the patient including any medications taken. Based on your observations it then helps you decide on the most appropriate course of action. There is guidance on using the Mental Capacity Act to assess the patient’s capacity and enable an admission to hospital if the patient resists. There is also advice on when an assessment under the MHA may be necessary. Knowing the law and being able to justify your actions is vital in order to provide the best possible care for the patient.
To check your answers to the quiz please see the back page of the issue.