This month sees the start of a new study at the NIHR Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London. Over the next two and a half years researchers will work with people with experience of homelessness and professionals who work with them to examine mental capacity assessments and multiple exclusion homelessness in England. Stephen Martineau, Research Fellow at the Unit, introduces the study, which is funded by the NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) Programme.
At the Unit this month we are starting a study, ‘Use of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with people experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness in England’. The co-Principal Investigators are Kritika Samsi (KCL) and Michelle Cornes (Salford & KCL), with the main researchers being Jess Harris (KCL) and Stephen Martineau (KCL). The lived-experience Advisory Group (PPIE) is led by Stan Burridge, who, as a member of the research team, will also be carrying out interviews with people experiencing homelessness. The other research team members are: Alex Ruck Keene KC (Hon), KCL and 39 Essex Chambers; Nathan Davies, UCL; Alex Bax, Pathway; Sam Dorney-Smith, Pathway.
After an evidence review, interviews with national experts and a national practitioner survey, we will focus on three contrasting sites in England – interviewing people with experience of homelessness and a range of professionals engaged in their support and care. Finally, informed by our findings, we plan to bring together stakeholders and, in consensus, revise a pre-existing capacity assessment Tools and Guidance document for practitioners working with people experiencing homelessness.
About a decade ago in the London Borough of Lambeth, a review into the death of a 63-year-old man who had been sleeping on the streets recommended work on ‘understanding how the Mental Capacity Act (2005) [MCA] can be used to safeguard people in this context.’* One consequence came in the form of a pioneering Tools and Guidance document – now in its third edition (2017) – that places the MCA in context with the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), risk assessment, adult safeguarding and hospital admission procedures, all calibrated for those working with people who are street sleeping. Continue reading