’This is relevant to all nurses, in particular those working in the field of mental health, learning disabilities and with older adults.’
Title: Grandpa on a Skateboard: The practicalities of assessing mental capacity and unwise decisions
Author: Tim Farmer
Publisher: Rethink Press
Reviewer: James King, deputy manager, Partnerships in Care Eating Disorders Services
What was it like?
A relatively short and snappy text, this offers the guidance promised in the title. This is book that understands its audience. Of the five sections, the first is entitled ”The boring yet essential stuff” and actually provides a clear overview of the Mental Capacity Act with a helpful glossary of the essential terms. This 30 page section itself should be essential reading for anyone working with the act (which as the author points out, is any of us currently in nursing practice).
What were the highlights?
The author has concerns about the amount of case studies and legal examples in the book, but I think these are an important addition that offer valuable examples in practice. They are largely drawn from his own many and varied experience as nurse and later as “The Guru of mental capacity” (one description of him) and as such most relatable. In fact, this is one of the key messages of the book, this is something that touches all of us, so why don’t we have a better understanding of it?
There is also an additional resources section that provides the reader with some useful templates to use, including a report example.
Strengths & weaknesses:
I think the main strength is in its clarity. The sections are carefully broken down into several subsections. I admired the author’s ability to convey the important detail without providing a weighty tome.
Who should read it?
This is relevant to all nurses, in particular those working in the field of mental health, learning disabilities and with older adults. However, I could see this being an essential text for student nurses for all the reasons above and is inexpensive. It would be a dream for those studying the subject, but more importantly it will teach the practitioners of the future some key lessons that will improve the way we deliver services in a thoughtful and measured way.
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