Decision-Making Capacity Assessments for Vulnerable Adults: Lessons for Social Work Competency

Eppie Leishman, Adria Navarro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Older adults face a multitude of adjustments to successfully maintain functional independence. Social workers and other providers actively come alongside, providing biopsychosocial assessments and interventions focused on the array of home and community-based supports and services to meet these changing levels of function. An older adult's personal choice is paramount in the process, unless a decline in decision-making capacity no longer makes this possible. Social workers and other professionals must become highly competent in discerning decision-making capacity for both ethical and competent practice.

The aim of this study during a Fulbright visit was to identify values, practices, and training that British social workers attribute to their assessment of decision-making capacity with older adults. The Mental Capacity Act (2005) provides lay persons and practitioners in England and Wales with the process to be used to discern this complex domain. Through semi-structured interviews, nine qualified social workers consented to share how they approach these assessments, the logistics required, and the training that has gotten them proficient to complete assessments of an older adult's mental capacity. The content is presented to provide lessons that can aid effective social service practices in the United States. The project was approved by the institutional review board of the School of Business and Society, University of York, UK.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2023
EventGerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting - Tampa Convention Center , Tampa, United States
Duration: 8 Nov 202312 Nov 2023


ConferenceGerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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