There are a number of key legislations that relate to the fulfilment or rights and choices and the minimising of risk of harm for individuals with dementia.
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights that everyone within the UK has, including the right to life, freedom from torture, belief, education and more. The Human Rights Act allows an individual to seek justice in a British court if a right is breached and ensures that public bodies respect the rights. It sets out key points that everyone has the right to do even if they have dementia; this ensures that someone is still treated fairly and like other people even if they do have dementia.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005, in force since 2007, was introduced to support and safeguard individuals to make decisions. It ensures people are empowered to make their own decisions where possible and protects vulnerable people, who are unable to make their own decisions by providing a framework that puts the individual at the centre of all decision making. It also allows people to plan and make decisions for the future, in case they lack capacity at any point.
The Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2005 were put in place to protect individuals over the age of 18 who suffer from mental disorder or disability, e.g. dementia, who are unable to make their own decisions about the arrangements of their care or treatment due to the lack of mental capacity. A deprivation of liberty safeguard is assessed and put in place if it is in the best interest of the individual and keeps them safe from harm. It allows individuals to receive the best quality of care possible whilst being kept safe from harm.
The Mental Health Act 2007 amends both the Mental Capacity Act and the Mental Health Act 1983 and protects individuals living with a mental health condition and their rights and allows them to be assessed and then be given the correct treatment, support and care.
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 was passed to prevent harm to vulnerable adults and children by preventing unsuitable people from being able to work in settings where they’d come into contact with vulnerable adults or children. The Independent Safeguarding Authority was set up as a result of the act and is responsible for carrying out the required background checks on people who are applying for a role with vulnerable groups of people.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 regulated the establishment of the Care Quality Commission and made provisions for health and social care. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for providing standard and inspecting health care providers to ensure they meet the set standards so residents are kept safe from harm and receive the best quality care possible, that meets their needs.