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Ethicists and Practitioners in Collaboration on Capacity (EPICC) - English


Jan 1995 - Jan 2020

Funding body:

European Commission


Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin

Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Glückstraße 10

91054 Erlangen


Phone: +49-(0)9131-85-26430 Fax: +49-(0)9131-85-22850

E-Mail: sekretariat@ethik.med.uni-erlangen.de
URL: http://www.gesch.med.uni-erlangen.de/eth/fors...ICC.htm


Wittern-Sterzel, Renate (Prof. Dr. Dr.)


Siegel, Stefan

Short Description:

This project aims at the development of new ethical approaches to the assessment of decision-making capacity in three areas of mental health practice: psychogeriatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, and adult mental health care. These three alternative ethical approaches are narrative ethics, hermeneutic ethics and feminist ethics. The primary goal is to develop a framework and guidelines to aid mental health care professionals in making responsible capacity assessments in everyday practice. Central to this project is the close collaboration between ethics/philosophy and practice, by bringing together academic representatives and practitioners in mental health care.

Traditionally, tests of mental capacity are used to dichotomise into 'competent' and 'incompetent' patients. Those considered 'incompetent' are excluded from the right to consent to (or dissent from) admission, treatment or care, and those considered competent are given these rights (within the framework of the law). In different European countries, a variety of legal mechanisms exist with regard to proxy consent procedures (by relatives, carers or others).

In this project, three alternative ethical approaches that may compensate for the shortcomings of the functional/cognitive approach (narrative ethics, hermeneutics, and feminism/care ethics) and their significance for mental capacity assessment will be explored. The aim is to assess the relevance of these new approaches to the shortcomings of conventional capacity assessment, and thus to improve practice in relation to vulnerable groups of mental health service users, particularly the elderly and young people.

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