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Praxis Care launch research findings in co-produced project with Mencap NI and Queens University Belfast

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Praxis Care launch research findings in co-produced project with Mencap NI and Queens University Belfast

Supported Decision Making research project with Mencap NI and Queens University.

Praxis Care, Mencap NI and Queen’s University Belfast today launched the findings and recommendations of their “Supported Decision Making – experiences, approaches and preferences” research project.

This co-produced project examined the experiences of people with mental ill health and learning disabilities in relation to decision making experiences, approaches and preferences. The research explores solutions that may more effectively empower people with disabilities to directly influence their own decision making.

The research was funded by the DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning) programme; a five year scheme launched in 2015, led by people with disabilities and funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Disability Action.

This year long project has been led by individuals with a learning disability or experience of mental ill health who worked alongside academics and staff within services for the duration of the project. An international advisory group was also involved to provide additional perspectives at key stages of the project.

Some of the recommendations from the research include:

  1. Support needs to be individualised to meet each individuals needs
  2. People need more time to make an important decision
  3. Some of the complexity about support needs to be explored.

The report findings are of both national and international significance as the co-produced research will help to inform the Code of Practice currently being developed for the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016.

Paul Webb, Research Manager, Praxis Care said:

“The Code of Practice is critical in helping people to understand how the legislation can be applied. Previously there has been very limited research evidence available about individuals with disabilities’ experiences of decision making and their preferences for support.

The findings of this report will contribute to a better understanding of the importance of respecting the rights of all individuals, will enable better decision making processes and a more inclusive approach to disability policy and support.”

Professor Gavin Davidson, Praxis Chair of Social Care from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social work at Queen’s University Belfast commented:

”The project has been a very positive partnership between the funder, the peer researchers and all the organisations involved. The Mental Capacity Act (NI) 2016 has the potential to provide a progressive and innovative legal framework for people whose ability to make decisions is impaired. The support principle in the new Act requires that people should be supported to make their own decisions and so the research findings inform how this can be implemented. The research participants have demonstrated how important it is to consider their experiences and ideas, and how willing they are to be involved in developing law, policy and practice.

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI said:

“Too often assumptions are made that people with a learning disability have nothing to say or because they cannot make one particular decision they cannot make any. This report demonstrates that this is not the case and we hope it will help to empower people with a learning disability to make key decisions about their lives. The real strength of this report was that in employing peer researchers who have a learning disability it challenged, in a very practical way, both attitudes and assumptions about what people with a learning disability can achieve”

You can read the full report here

An Easy Read version of the report is also available to download.

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