What is a capacity evaluation?

Capacity refers to an assessment of an individual’s psychological abilities to form rational decisions, often in the context of their care or ability to make decisions around their health. It is determined by a physician, not the courts, and is specific to the situation at hand. For example, if a patient wishes to leave the hospital against medical advise but is delirious and unable to make rational decisions, a physician may perform a capacity assessment to help decide if the patient’s request must be granted. Capacity changes as the patient changes so if in our example the patient was found to lack capacity because she was delirious, the next day when not delirious a new capacity elevation would be necessary if the patient again requests to leave against medical advise.

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