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Carers MCA awareness workshop

19th July 2023

Members Of The MCA Team Along With A Number Of Carers Who Attended The Carer’s Workshop In Seagoe Hotel, Portadown.

As part of “Carers Week” 2023, the SHSCT MCA Training Team were delighted to be invited by the Carers Consultants for Adults with Learning Disability, to a number of carer events during June. These included the first “Carers MCA Awareness Workshops” offered regionally. It was a pleasure to meet with carers across the SHSCT who tirelessly provide care and support to their family members.

The purpose of these Workshops, which took place in Newry, Armagh and Portadown, was to enable attendees to develop their knowledge of MCA and identify how those they care for may require the safeguards provided within this legislation. These could include the need for individuals who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves, to be “deprived of their liberty” ensuring they are cared for in a safe environment.

The workshops were attended by a representation of carers whose family members are currently, or may be subject to a Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) authorisation in the future.

These workshops provided a unique opportunity for carers to voice their shared MCA experiences, expectations and created a supportive environment for questions and open discussion.

Feedback was extremely positive with carers confirming they were “glad to have had the opportunity to attend” and found sessions “very informative”. In general, the consensus was that, carers felt they had increased their “knowledge” and “understanding” of MCA and they helped demystify some the formal/ legal associated language. Carers also reported that having the opportunity to discuss their MCA concerns with other carers provided reassurance they were “not alone”.

One carer who acts as his brother’s Nominated Person (NP) spoke about the positive impact of MCA with a focus on the “least restrictive option” and “special regard”. This had enabled his brother to reside in the family home with support and improved his quality of life.

However, also highlighted was the need for ongoing support and guidance as carers attempt to work their way around the often legal/ jargonised language involved in MCA. It was clear there remains a level of “anxiety” for carers when attempting to navigate this new legislation and the potential impact it will have on the family as a whole going forward. Other concerns raised included the struggles families experience in areas such as the person’s right to make what may be perceived to be “unwise decisions”, (if deemed to have the capacity to do so), particularly when this could potentially have a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Whilst these sessions have started the conversation about MCA and DoLS, there is no doubt carers will require ongoing support and reassurance as implementation of this legislation progresses.

Alongside the Workshops, the trainers attended a two day “Carers Health & Wellness Event” which helped to further raise awareness of MCA across a wider range of carers and provided an excellent opportunity for networking with other relevant agencies and voluntary groups.

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