The capacity to make one’s own decisions is fundamental to the ethical principle of respect for autonomy and is a key component of informed consent to medical treatment. Determining whether an individual has adequate capacity to make specific decisions should be addressed on a question-by-question basis.
The main determinant of capacity is cognition (i.e., memory and thinking).
There is a wide range of medical and neurologic conditions and treatments that can affect cognition and thus affect someone’s ability to make independent decisions.
Given that the concept of “capacity” is complex and multifaceted, a capacity assessment at Peak Neuropsychology aims to strike a balance between respecting our patient’s independence and acting in our patient’s best interests. As such, each evaluation is uniquely tailored toward your needs and specific questions you are hoping to answer.
The main goal of a capacity evaluation is to describe a person’s ability to make an informed and specific decision.
A skillful capacity assessment helps to determine the nature and severity of our patient’s cognitive difficulties and how they may impact their ability to:
Decide whether or not to receive a specific treatment
Decide how and who should assist with financial decisions
Decide whether or not to appoint someone as their Power of Attorney
We can also help families to effectively communicate with their loved ones who may or may not be able to make such decisions any longer, and provide assistance, as needed, with completing the necessary applications and paperwork to file for Power of Attorney/Health Care Advance Directive.