Glossary and Definitions
Advance Agreement is the same as an advance preference. The term may be used where you feel sure anyone mentioned in your preference statement agrees with what you are asking of them
Advance Decision: This is exactly the same as an Advance Directive and is always about what you do not want to happen should you lose capacity.
Advocate: A person who speaks on behalf of another.
Advance Preference is a type of statement that is not legally binding saying what you would like to happen if you lost your capacity.
Advance Statement is a statement of what you would like to happen or not happen in times of mental health difficulties / loss of capacity.
Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) is a role similar to the approved social worker replaced by the Mental Health Act 2007. The AMHP duties include coordinating mental health assessments and section decisions.
Attorney: This simply means ‘agent’ which simply means someone who acts on your behalf.
Capacity: Having mental capacity means a person can make their own decisions.
Carer: A person who supports someone else. Could be a family member or friend.
Care Quality Commission: This body assesses the effectiveness of services delivered by the NHS. As part of its role it carries out surveys of mental health services including surveying patient feedback.
Citizens Advice Citizens: Advice Bureaux are available in most areas. They offer impartial advice. For information on your own area see their entry in your local phone book.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy(CBT): CBT can help you to change how you think ("Cognitive") and what you do ("Behaviour)". These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, it focuses on the "here and now" problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, it looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.
Community mental health nurses (CMHN): CHMNs are also known as CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses). They work as part of a community mental health team often based at GP surgeries. They can have specialist areas of experience such as children, elderly people, drug or alcohol problems.
Community Mental Health Team (CMHT): CMHTs: are found in each local area where they support people with longer-term mental health difficulties within the community. Support is offered by psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and other mental health workers.
Counsellor: Counselling is described as a ‘talking’ treatment. It can help people manage a wide range of problems. Access to counselling services can be difficult to arrange in the NHS.
Enduring Power of Attorney: These are historical documents since the introduction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the introduction of Lasting Power of Attorney. Old EPAs continue to be valid if registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
DoL = Deprivation of Liberty: Health professionals often use the expression ‘DoL’, which is about hospital patients who may need to be detained for an extended time.
Gateway worker: A recent addition to mental health services providing a similar form of assessment as admission nurses in accident and emergency units.
General practitioner (GP): Can be the first point of contact for many patients. They can work singly or as part of a multi-agency team providing mental health care.
Health visitor: These are people trained to offer advice on general health with special training in child health.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): A legal document that lets you appoint someone you trust as an ‘attorney’ to make decisions on your behalf. It has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. A registered LPA can be used at any time, whether you have the mental capacity to act for yourself or not. Unlike an Advance Directive an LPA can be used when you have capacity as well as when you lack capacity.
Living Will Living will is simply an alternative description of an advance statement.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005: details way a someone may be judged to lack capacity, saying how capacity can be assessed and explains when capacity should be assessed and who should be involved and includes guidance on how assessments can be made.
Mental Health Act 1983: This still exists but much of it has been superceded by the Mental Health Act 2007.
Mental Health Act 2007: This came into law during 2008 and is now the main law governing mental health matters.
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Next of kin: This might seem like an important idea but it means little in mental health law, where the nearest relative is a far more important factor.
Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS): ICAS is a service independent to the NHS which helps service users or their carers to pursue a complaint about treatment.
Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) – The Mental Health Act 2007 created this advocate role. If you qualify for IMHA assistance they will visit you, listen to you and help you obtain information.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) – Often referred to as an ‘IMCA’. This professional will only come to your assistance if you have no family and friends to support you. If you have no other support an IMCA is likely to be involved in the most serious decisions. An IMCA is not a decision maker, but the decision maker will have a duty to take into account the information given by the IMCA.
Occupational Therapists: They work within the community, day hospitals and secure psychiatric units. Their work is based on helping individuals become more confident and build skills needed to live in the community. They also focus on anxiety management and assertiveness training.
Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) forums : these are available in each NHS Trust. However they don’t become involved in individual treatment issues but work to improve services based on feedback from the community.
Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS): Part of their functions was previously run by community health councils. PALS are established in each NHS Trust and work to help patients sort out treatment problems within that Trust. Any problem they can’t solve within the Trust will probably be referred to ICAS
Power of Attorney: An authorization for someone to act as your agent. These are often used for financial matters when an agent is asked to look after bank accounts, pay bills and so on.Peer support groups: A peer is someone who is an equal, with similar social power and knowledge. A peer support group is composed of individuals who see each other as equals. Peer support works because it is a two-way process. Decisions can be made by the entire group. Being a member of a peer support group can validate and give confidence to individuals who feel disempowered in other situations.
Responsible Clinician (RC): They have a role similar to the Responsible Medical Officers replaced by the Mental Health Act 2007. The RC is in overall charge of patients in hospital under section.
Psychiatrist: a person who are medically trained doctors who have specialised in mental health. They can work in hospitals, the community as part of multi-agency teams, or individual secure units.
Psychologists: Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists do not have to be medically trained. They must have a degree in psychology plus work experience.
Psychotherapist: A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, a psychologist or other mental health professional with special training.
Psychotherapy: works to find our why you feel as you do and why you respond to others the way you do.
Social workers: a person trained to offer support for a variety of social rather than medical needs, and not only within mental health.