Encyclopedia of Geropsychology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Nancy A. Pachana

Decision-Making Capacity in Older Adults, Overview of

  • J. Kaci FairchildEmail author
  • Melissa A. Yanovitch
  • Caitlin S. Moore
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-082-7_355

Synonyms

Assessment; Competency; Decision-making

Definition

The necessary cognitive and functional abilities required to perform a specific task or make a specific decision.

Introduction

The term capacity refers to a person’s ability to perform a specific task or make a specific decision. Determinations of capacity have historically been made by clinicians in clinical settings. This is in contrast to the legal term competency, which is a determination made by the court. At times these terms have been used interchangeably; however, for the purposes of this section, we henceforth use the terms “clinical capacity” and “legal capacity.”

Psychologists are increasingly called upon to make determinations of capacity. The reasons for this are multifactorial. It is widely cited that the number of older adults worldwide has grown exponentially. And while not all older adults develop dementia, they may experience physical and mental changes as they age that place them at risk for impaired...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. American Bar Association and American Psychological Association Assessment of Capacity in Older Adults Project Working Group. (2008). Assessments of older adults with diminished capacity: A handbook for psychologists. Washington, DC: American Bar Association and American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  2. Bailar-Heath, M., & Moye, J. (2014). International perspectives on capacity assessment. In N. A. Pachana & K. Laidlaw (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of clinical geropsychology (pp. 248–266). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beauchamp, T. L. (2007). The ‘four principles’ approach to health care ethics. In R. E. Ashcroft, A. Dawson, H. Draper, & J. R. McMillan (Eds.), Principles of health care ethics (2nd ed., pp. 3–10). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Beauchamp, T., & Childress, J. (2011). Principles of biomedical ethics (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Buchanan, A. E., & Brock, D. W. (1989). Deciding for others: The ethics of surrogate decision-making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Doron, I. (2002). Elder guardianship kaleidoscope-A comparative perspective. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 16, 368–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grisso, T. (1986). Evaluating competencies. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grisso, T. (2003). Evaluating competencies: Forensic assessments and instruments (2nd ed.). New York: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  9. Grisso, T., & Appelbaum, P. A. (1998). The assessment of decision-making capacity: A guide for physicians and other health professionals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Karel, M. (2007). Culture and medical decision-making. In S. H. Qualls & M. Smyer (Eds.), Changes in decision-making capacity in older adults. Assessment and intervention (pp. 145–176). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  11. Lichtenberg, P. A., Qualls, S. H., & Smyer, M. A. (2015). Competency and decision-making capacity: Negotiating health and financial decision-making. In P. A. Lichtenberg & B. T. Mast (Eds.), APA handbook of clinical geropsychology: Vol. 2. Assessment, treatment, and issues in later life (pp. 553–578). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lyness, J. M., King, D. A., Cox, D., Yoediono, Z., & Caine, M. D. (2015). The importance of subsyndromal depression in older primary care patients: Prevalence and associated functional disability. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 47(6), 647–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Moye, J. (2007). Clinical frameworks for capacity assessment. In S. H. Qualls & M. Smyer (Eds.), Changes in decision-making capacity in older adults. Assessment and intervention (pp. 177–190). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Moye, J., & Marson, D. C. (2007). Assessment of decision-making capacity in older adults: An emerging area of practice and research. The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 62(1), P3–P11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ruchinskas, R. (2005). Risk assessment as an integral aspect of capacity evaluations. Rehabilitation Psychology, 50, 197–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Searight, H. R., & Gafford, J. (2007). Cultural diversity at the end of life: Issues and guidelines for family physicians. American Family Physician, 71(3), 515–522.Google Scholar
  17. Smyer, M. (2007). Aging and decision-making capacity: An overview. In S. H. Qualls & M. Smyer (Eds.), Changes in decision-making capacity in older adults. Assessment and intervention (pp. 3–24). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. U. S. Census Bureau. (2014). Profile of selected social characteristics. Retrieved February 22, 2016 from, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_DP02&src=ptGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kaci Fairchild
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melissa A. Yanovitch
    • 2
  • Caitlin S. Moore
    • 3
  1. 1.Sierra Pacific Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.PGSP-Stanford PsyD ConsortiumPalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.Ryan Dolby Brain Health CenterCalifornia Pacific Medical Center Neurosciences InstituteSan FranciscoUSA