Our Services / Capacity Assessment

Capacity Assessment

Older adults tend to have more complicated health issues and need to make decisions about treatment and care. At HouseCall MD, Dr. Shahriar Jarchi and the team specialize in the health care needs of the aging population. If you have concerns about a loved one making health care decisions, the practice can perform a capacity assessment. Find out more about capacity assessments by calling the office or requesting a consultation online today.

Capacity Assessment Q & A

What is a capacity assessment?

A capacity assessment evaluates a person’s ability to make decisions that affect their life, including medical care and treatment. To make decisions about health care and treatment, you need to understand the recommended treatment, the benefits and risks, and the alternatives. 

Your capacity to understand your health care needs, demonstrate your understanding, and communicate your wishes is how you provide informed consent for medical care.

Assessing a patient’s capacity is part of being a health care provider and is important for creating and maintaining a trusting patient-provider relationship.

If you have concerns about a loved one’s ability to make informed decisions about their health care needs, HouseCall MD can help. 

Who needs a capacity assessment?

Anyone who requires medical care or treatment needs a capacity assessment. Health care providers must assume patients are able to make informed decisions unless proven otherwise.

Caregivers and health care providers may question an individual’s capacity if they’re unable to carry on a logical conversation, if they have a sudden change in their mental well-being, or if they refuse a treatment that has obvious benefits. 

Risk factors that may warrant a capacity assessment by the team at HouseCall MD include:

  • Being 85 or older
  • Chronic neurological condition
  • Chronic psychiatric condition
  • Cultural barriers
  • Language barriers
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Infections

Despite being part of the patient-provider relationship, many health care providers fail to recognize a patient’s incapacity for making informed decisions about their health needs and treatments. 

HouseCall MD specializes in the unique health care needs of the aging population. Working together as a team, the providers develop solutions to complex problems to help make sure you or your loved one gets the care they need. 

What happens during a capacity assessment?

The HouseCall MD team may perform a capacity assessment in a patient’s home, at a facility, or in a hospital.

First, the team determines that there are no communication barriers that might interfere with the patient’s ability to understand or express their understanding of the recommended treatments. 

Then, they conduct a clinical interview to assess the patient’s capacity for making medical decisions. If the team is unable to get a clear picture of a patient’s capacity during an interview, they may use a formal capacity assessment tool such as the Aid to Capacity Evaluation (ACE). 

The team may also use tools to screen for confusion, such as the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) or the Abbreviated Mental Test 4 (AMT4).

After the assessment, the team provides recommendations, which may include appointing a surrogate to make decisions.

Find out more about capacity assessment at HouseCall MD by calling the office or booking an appointment online today.