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An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) is provided for any person aged 16 years or older, who has no one able to support and represent them, and who lacks capacity to make a decision about either:

  • a long term care move;
  • serious medical treatment;
  • safeguarding adult procedures; or
  • a care and support plan review.

Other advocates are also available. They might be useful in providing support for the person who lacks capacity if:

  • the person has no close family or friends to take an interest in their welfare, and they do not qualify for an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA);
  • family members disagree about the person’s best interests;
  • family members and professionals disagree about the person’s best interests;
  • there is a conflict of interest for people who have been consulted in the best interests assessment (for example, the sale of a family property where the person lives);
  • the person who lacks capacity is already in contact with an advocate;
  • the course of action being discussed may lead to the person being physically restrained or other restrictions put on them;
  • there is a concern about an adult who is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.

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