Independent Mental Capacity Advocates -- opinions sought

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Boldredrosie, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Hi

    I've asked this question before but not had any opinions shared so thought I'd try again.
    Does anybody have any experience with Independent Mental Capacity Advocates? If so, how did you find the experience and how did you access the IMCA you engaged to represent the person without or with diminished capacity?

    I have been advised by my solicitor to think about one for my mother who has moderate to severe dementia and whose capacity is very variable depending on the situation and her general state of well-being.

    Thanks
     
  2. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    From what little reading I've done, it seems that an IMCA performs the same function as a POA or Appointee. There are two downsides to using one of these as far as I can see...They will not have the close knowledge of needs and circumstances that a member of family or a friend would thereby having to rely on third party input to make a decision that may affect the AZ patient's life.....and, of course they will be a constant financial drain of the donor's resources.

    If it is at all possible, I'd choose to go down the LPA Health and Welfare and LPA Financial and Legal path. Generally cheaper and a lot more personal.
    Just my opinion you understand.
     
  3. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Thanks for your insights which are much appreciated. I have Lasting Power of Attorney for my mother's finances but at the time that was being arranged it didn't dawn on me to get the Welfare version and so we've missed the boat on that one. The Financial LPA is fine for day to day stuff but I'm planning to sell our house and my solicitor believes that the IMCA would act for my mother and in so doing protect me from accusations of conflict of interest, which, frankly, after all I've been through over the years with my parents is the last thing I need.
     
  4. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    I sold Mum's house with no problems under her LPA ( and I bought it too but that was a different issue, her's wasn't selling, our's had and the one we were buying fell through!!)

    I used different solicitor for the sale and the puchase but had no difficulties.

    On a slightly different tack, if your Mum can still sign her name, and understands at the time of signing then she could still give POA for Health and welfare.

    Good Luck
     
  5. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Thanks for info -- regarding the H&W LPA nobody connected with my Ma believes she is able to give informed consent on this subject. I certainly don't believe she would understand the implications and so under those circumstances it wouldn't be right for me to try and get that LPA.
     
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,397
    Female
    South coast
    I dont see why selling your mums house needs anything other than LPA for finances. Loads of people do this every day. In what way would there be a conflict of interest?
     
  7. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,391
    Male
    North Manchester
    "...I'm planning to sell our house..."

    implies some form of joint ownership in which case a trustee will have to be appointed to protect the Mother's interest. The OP cannot act for both themselves and the Mother.
     
  8. Poppyfields

    Poppyfields Registered User

    Sep 12, 2013
    68
    I didn't know that you could appoint one yourself!

    Social services have appointed one for yet another meeting with my mum- to determine whether my mother wants to leave the care home.

    This appointment of an IMCA is despite the best interests meeting in late 2013 (just before my mum went into the care home)
    It was stated in the minutes that no IMCA was necessary as my mum had us to represent her.

    18 months on and nothing's changed except my mum isn't happy or well and after a series of "incidents" and a complete unwillingness to answer transparently by the care home, we have made it clear that my mum needs to leave there.

    We only contacted SS because my mum was given notice by the manager of the care home (because she doesn't want to answer the questions we've been asking for months) and then the manager refused to communicate any further regarding the notice period.

    The social worker than met with my mum and the care home manager and once again, formal notice of 28 days was given.

    Then the social worker got it into her head that my mum doesn't want to leave - this is because my mum doesn't want to offend anyone. She is also poorly and exhausted and underweight - the thought of getting out of bed tires her out at the moment, so it is understandable if she has said to the social worker that she doesn't want/can't be bothered to move.

    My mum regularly begs me to get her out of the care home, as she says she is going mad - unsurprising as they have her on a secure unit where most of the residents are very advanced in their dementia - which frightens my mum.

    I know there's been some "coaching" going on as my mum over the last couple of weeks has started to use phrases that she's never used before "Oh I'm coping quite well" etc. and also "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings" before she again says that she wants to leave.

    We (her family) have said that my mum needs to move to a better/cleaner/safer care home where the staff aren't mostly agency and actually do care about the residents.



    We have recorded phone calls and face to face conversations with my mum, where she has said she wants to leave.

    We've done the same regarding her complete willingness for us to see all documentation from the care home.

    This is apparently "irrelevant" - yet the care home manager has had a private meeting with my mum, who apparently told her that she didn't want her family to see anything - how convenient.

    I've asked the social worker where we stand legally - the only allegation of abuse/lack of care is directed at the care home, not her family.

    So I wonder, can we also appoint an IMCA? Because I am willing to bet that the one that SS has contacted won't be at all independent.
     
  9. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    This sounds an awful situation. Let's hope that someone comes along and gives us an insight into IMCA so that we can both proceed.
     
  10. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Correct. Ma and I both own the house (in differing proportions), technically I can sell the house but my solicitor has suggested this could be seen as conflict of interest, hence the recommendation of the IMCA but I know so very little about it that it'd be great to hear about other people's experiences. I don't fancy making mistakes that may be financially costly but also lead to a poor outcome for me, Ma and my 16-year-old.
     
  11. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    ....strange comment from the solicitor since you have a legal power to sell the property and will be able to prove how much the shares are and divide the funds accordingly...
    Sometimes I feel that trust is a dirty word these days. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    I don't think it's strange. I wouldn't have asked for his advice if I hadn't been uneasy at what could be perceived as elder abuse. When I posted the same request a few months ago one of the respondents said there's no way any court would agree to a forced sale when one of the parties was a frail old woman with dementia. So, if that's the attitude of people in this forum who care for people with dementia then to the outside world selling the house 'out from under her' could be seen in all sorts of lights. And, as I said, if we end up selling I don't want there to be any chance that someone could accuse me of acting against her best interests.
     
  13. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,391
    Male
    North Manchester
    The problem is that by selling the house the OP is releasing capital for their own use, there is an argument that the sale may not be in the Mother's best interests and the OP sold it just to obtain the cash.

    This is overcome by appointing an impartial person to protect the Mother's interests, whether by using an IMCA, maybe with specific power, or some other method I don't know.
     
  14. Not so Rosy

    Not so Rosy Registered User

    Nov 30, 2013
    580
    My Dad had an IMCA appointed to challenge his Sectioning.

    I wasn't consulted and had no contact at all with them. I found out by accident when I was putting some money into Dads wallet and out came a business card. I asked Dad what it was for but he wasn't sure so I asked the ward sister, turned out it was for his solicitor.

    I know there have to be safeguards in place but to me it was a complete waste of pubic money. A Judge, a Clerk of the Court, 2 Consultants, Social Worker, CPN, Ward Sister plus a few random people held a legal hearing at the hospital which Dad slept through. In Dads case there was no charge to him.
     
  15. Davidth

    Davidth Registered User

    Jun 14, 2015
    3
    Hampshire
    With great respect, there are some inaccurate answers here relating to IMCAs.

    The Mental Capacity Act 2005 established IMCAs. There are different IMCA services covering every local authority area of Engiand and Wales.

    An IMCA only gets involved with people who have been deemed to lack the capacity to make certain decisions. One such decision would be serious medical treatment. If, say, "Fred", who has Alzheimer's, requires a hip replacement operation, and does not have the capacity to agree to the operation, and also does not have someone who could help him make that decision (eg a relative) then an IMCA would have to be instructed. The IMCA would ensure that Fred's views were taken into account by the professionals who would eventually decide whether or not the hip operation should go ahead.

    An IMCA would not get involved in the scenario of a house sale which is mentioned below, unless that scenario became some sort of safeguarding enquiry.

    It is perfectly legitimate to involve an advocate in such a scenario, but not an IMCA. And just to confuse things even more, organisations that provide advocacy services often also provide specialist IMCA services.

    Contrary to what Boldredrosie says, the IMCA service is definitely independent. Every local authority in England and Wales has a contract with an IMCA service. Just google "IMCA Hampshire" or "IMCA Southampton" or whatever to find yours. Yes you can contact them directly for advice, but as I say they have very clearly defined parameters about what kinds of issues they can and cannot get involved in.

    And contrary to what craigmaid says, the IMCA role is very different from an LPA or an Appointee. The IMCA's job is to make sure the wishes of the person who lacks capacity are taken into account when making an important decision on their behalf. The IMCA should not take the decision, nor should they express their own opinion. An IMCA would not normally get involved if there is an LPA or Appointe. The LPA or Appointee is there to make the decision, in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.

    Hope that helps :)

    David
     
  16. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Er, don't think I said IMCAs were not independent as I don't know much about them, which is why I've posted this request for opnions here. David, your reply is helpful although doesn't really give me a sense of what it would be like to get one for Ma. I've just printed from the Office of Public Guardian website a booklet on IMCAs that Age UK suggested I read. Although I am now unsure whether or not an IMCA is needed for the housesale or another kind of independent to represent Ma's interests.
     
  17. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,419
    I think what you need is a trustee as Nitram (I think?) pointed out. I know other people (spouses primarily) have sold jointly owned property and got another person to act as trustee for the spouse without capacity.

    I think this gives the information hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/cop-gn2-eng.pdf

    And yes, it was poppyfields who made the comment about the independence of IMCAs.
     
  18. Boldredrosie

    Boldredrosie Registered User

    Mar 13, 2012
    237
    Thank you for this -- this looks more appropriate for the situation we're in. I think you're right -- Ma needs a trustee to represent her interests when the house goes on the market and her own solicitor.
     
  19. Poppyfields

    Poppyfields Registered User

    Sep 12, 2013
    68
    Yes, guilty!

    After my experiences, I do not believe an IMCA is totally independent if they've been contacted by social services and then "filled in" on the history -

    Then when you get to speak to the IMCA you discover that they've been given one side of the story.
    They haven't been told that the care home haven't reported injuries/illnesses; that they refuse to answer emails asking about what your mum is eating (as she is losing weight steadily) - I could go on and on with various incidences

    The IMCA then perhaps might understand that you don't feel it is in your mum's best interests to remain in this care home.

    The fact he's been called upon at all isn't his fault (he sounded jolly nice)
    it is social services who insist on ignoring a decision that was made at a best interest meeting which was that mum doesn't need an IMCA and has her family to represent her.
    As that decision was made when relations between my youngest daughter and I were at their very worst, it would seem logical that now things are improved between us, we are even more united in our representation.
     

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