Article: Volume 44 Number 8 Page 762 - September 2017

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  Dent Update 2017; 44: 762-772

Special Care Dentistry/Mental Capacity/Consent:  Consent and Capacity – Considerations for the Dental Team Part 2: Adults Lacking Capacity

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Abstract: Assessment of capacity is a fundamental part of everyday clinical dental practice in all settings. The legal and ethical principles underpinning assessment of capacity, and our responsibility to act in our patients’ best interests must be understood by the dental team. The dental team must be aware of how and when to act in the best interests of the adult patient who lacks capacity, and where it is appropriate to seek further advice. The dental profession is in the privileged position of making decisions on behalf of patients, and must fulfil its responsibilities to this potentially vulnerable patient group.

Clinical relevance: This paper defines common terms relating to capacity, provides an overview of UK capacity legislation, and discusses how to provide care for adults who lack capacity to consent for their treatment.

Author notes: Suzanne Burke, BDS(Hons), MFDS RCSEd, Specialty Trainee in Special Care Dentistry, Andrew Kwasnicki, BChD, MFDS RCSEd, MSND RCSEd, Cert Sed(Liv) FHEA, Consultant/Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Special Care Dentistry, Shelagh Thompson, BDS, MPhil, PhD, MSND RCSEd, MFDS RCSEng, Professor/Honorary Consultant in Special Care Dentistry, Tom Park, BDS(Hons), MFDS RCSEd, Dental Core Trainee in Special Care Dentistry, Avril Macpherson, BDS, FDS RCSEd, MFDS RCSEd, MSND RCSEd, DipConSed FHEA, Consultant/Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Special Care Dentistry, Special Care Dentistry Department, Liverpool University Dental Hospital, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5PS, UK.

Objective: To assist in assessing capacity and acting in the best interests of the patient, and also to be aware of when it is appropriate to seek further advice or refer to specialist services.

ADG