explain what steps to take if consent cannot be readily established. in health and social care .
The HCCA PROVIDES AN EXCEPTION TO THE REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN CONSENT WHEN EMERGENCY TREATMENT IS REQUIRED. [ It is considered an emergency if a person is apparently experiencing severe suffering or is at risk of sustaining serious bodily harm.
The exception for emergency treatment applies if:
The patient is mentally incapable of making the treatment decision
The delay required to obtain consent
will prolong the suffering or put the person at risk of sustaining serious bodily harm
The exception for emergency treatment also applies if:
The patient is apparently capable, but communication cannot occur because of a language barrier or a disability
Reasonable steps have been taken to find a practical means of communicating with the patient but such steps have been unsuccessful, and
The delay required to find a practical means to communicate will prolong the suffering or put the person at risk of sustaining serious bodily harm
In addition, a health practitioner who believes that a person is mentally incapable, or where communication cannot take place after reasonable steps have been taken, may conduct an examination or diagnostic procedure without consent, if the examination or diagnostic procedure is reasonably necessary to determine whether there is an emergency.
A person who is mentally capable has a right to refuse treatment even if it is an emergency. If there is a language barrier, or the person has a disability which prevents communication, treatment cannot be performed without consent, where there is reason to believe that the person does not want the treatment.
Capacity and Incapacity Under the HCCA
Capacity has been defined above. Mental capacity is specific to the treatment being performed. Mental capacity may also depend on timing; a person may be considered incapable with respect to treatment at one time and capable at another time. Nor is there a fixed age at which a person becomes mentally capable of consenting to treatment.
The HCCA states that a person is presumed to be capable with respect to treatment. ]