Controlling behaviour using neuroleptic drugs: the role of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in protecting the liberty of people with dementia.

Boyle, Geraldine (2008). Controlling behaviour using neuroleptic drugs: the role of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in protecting the liberty of people with dementia. Disability and Society, 23(7) pp. 759–771.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687590802469255

Abstract

The use of neuroleptic drugs to mediate the behaviour of people with dementia living in care homes can lead to them being deprived of their liberty. Whilst regulation has been successful in reducing neuroleptic prescribing in the USA, policy guidance has been unsuccessful in reducing the use of these drugs in the UK. Yet the Mental capacity act 2005 aimed to protect the liberty of people lacking capacity and provided safeguards to ensure that they are not inappropriately deprived of their liberty in institutions. This article highlights the potential for using this law to identify when neuroleptic prescribing in care homes would deprive people with dementia of their liberty and, in turn, to act as a check on prescribing levels. However, the extent to which the Act can promote and protect the right to liberty of people with dementia is constrained by a lack of access to social rights.

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