To determine the point prevalence of mental incapacity and the ‘Bournewood gap’ in general adult and old age mental health in-patients. The correlation of mental capacity assessment between doctors and nurses was investigated. Data were gathered on one census day for all general adult and old age psychiatric in-patients at three hospital sites.
Half the sample lacked capacity and one third fell into the ‘Bournewood gap’. The capacity assessment by nurses and doctors correlated highly (κ=0.719, P=0.0001).
‘Bournewood gap’ patients should have their needs assessed in order to identify and protect their rights. Appropriately trained mental health nursing staff can undertake this assessment.
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