Decisional Capacity Evaluations
What is a capacity evaluation?
Capacity is typically assessed using a structured or semi-structured interview by a medical/psychological professional. The interview often includes open-ended questions to assess comprehension, reasoning, appreciation, and expression of one’s decisions. A capacity evaluation may include: neuropsychological testing, assessment of psychiatric symptom, interview of a family member or friend, and review of pertinent records. Each of these sources provide vital information regarding an individual’s ability to make informed decisions and live independently.
When to consider a capacity evaluation
Capacity evaluations should be considered when there is concern that an individual’s cognitive decline has compromised decisional capacity. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following cases:
- Concern over capacity to understand and manage medical diagnoses,
- Concern about capacity to consent to medical procedures and treatments,
- Questions if a loved one or patient can safely live independently,
- Worry about risk that a loved one or patient may fall victim to financial scams,
- Concern that a client comprehends the legal information you provide,
- Uncertainty that a client has the capacity to make a new will or assign a trustee,
- Risk of unsound financial decisions, and
- Question of undue influence by strangers, friends, or family members.
What does the evaluation entail?
Each evaluation consists of thorough assessment of an individual’s history, current functional difficulties, overall cognitive profile, medical and psychiatric history, and interview with pertinent family members. Capacity evaluations require integration of clinical, legal, and ethical considerations.
Please contact us regarding these evaluations.