The IMCA will support and represent you in discussions to work out whether the proposed decision is in your best interests. The IMCA provides information to help work out what is in your best interests and to help with this they consult widely with people who know you, and those involved in your health and/or social care.
IMCAs have the right to see relevant healthcare and social care records to inform this process. IMCAs then raise questions or challenge decisions which appear not to be in your best interests. The information they provide to the decision maker must be taken into account when making the final decision.
An IMCA would work alongside you in the following ways:
- visit you in hospital, a care home or wherever you are living. You should be able to speak in private, unless you would prefer someone else there.
- help collect relevant information about the decision that needs to be made – for example health or social care records.
- with your consent, consult with health and social care professionals providing the care and treatment. If appropriate, they can also consult other people who may be able to comment on your wishes, feelings, beliefs and values, if you are unable to comment yourself at the time.
- support you to make decisions yourself – for example:
- identifying your wishes, feelings, beliefs and values, or what these would be if you had the capacity to make the decision
- explaining the options available
- if the decision is about medical treatment, they can suggest whether it would be useful to get a second medical opinion
- making sure that the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice has been followed and the decision has been made in your best interests and is the least restrictive option.
- writing a short report with their findings
- If the IMCA believes that their opinion has not been taken into account by professionals, or if there is a disagreement between the professionals about what is in your best interests, they can:
- make a complaint to the NHS body (the hospital or trust) or the local authority, or
- take the matter to the Court of Protection for a decision.