This site will undergo essential maintenance and upgrades from 09:30 to 10:00 today.

The site will be down, and you will be logged out during this time.

Caring for Adults with Incapacity

*A course tailored for care home & care at home professionals*



Capacity Assessing

Power of Attorney

AWI Principles


Supported Decision Making

Rights, Will & Preference

The Scottish Mental Health Law Review


Short Video Classes


Activities with interactive content, as well as a range of conversations with professionals across Scotland’s care sector

5 hrs


With the option to make online notes on every class, download a Certificate of Completion & provide Learner Feedback

Course content available for....



Developed with Sandra McDonald, the Former Public Guardian for Scotland, this course – Caring for Adults with Incapacity – offers you all the key information about adults with incapacity legislation, specifically tailored for care staff.

If you care for adults with incapacity, in a care home or in their own home, and want to know the law which governs this area of work, this course is for you – taking you from policy to practice; offering you the legal concepts without the legal jargon.


Adult incapacity issues can be both difficult and sensitive. With Scotland’s ageing population, applying Adults with Incapacity (AwI) legislation is becoming more and more commonplace for health & social care professionals but knowing how and when to make best use of the legislation can often be very challenging.

This on-demand learning course brings Sandra McDonald – her knowledge and her expertise around AWI legislation – straight to your device. With a mix of video classes, as well as a range of activities and conversations with professionals across Scotland’s care sector, the course addresses the frequently arising challenges around AWI within a care setting – and what to do when difficulties arise.

Key Themes

  • The AWI Principles
  • Power of Attorney & Guardianship
  • Assessing an individual’s Capacity
  • Supporting an individual’s Decision Making
  • Respecting an individual’s Rights, Will and Preference
  • Placing hands on a person to maintain their safety
  • The Scottish Mental Health Law Review
  • Challenges around AWI within a care setting
  • How to respond to Conflict with an Attorney or a Guardian – including a checklist that can be used to determine whether to Regard or Disregard the way they intend to progress with things.

Includes conversations with...

  • Susan Torrance, Adult Protection Adviser, NHS Tayside Adult Protection Team
  • Margaret Ann Mcausland, Advanced Senior Support Worker, Wallacetown Gardens Supported Living Unit (Ayr)
  • Nicki Parker, Enhanced Care Home Team, NHS Tayside
  • Oliver van Helden, Patient/Resident’s Relative

What our Learners say...

This course will be available until at least June 2025, ensuring learners can work through the content anytime, anywhere, at their own pace…

High Quality








Cheryl Henderson, Education and Dementia Coordinator, Elder Homes Ltd
Read More
This is one of the best online courses I have done. The mix of slides, discussion, 'real' examples all made it interesting. However it was the direct conversation in a really accessible way from Sandra that made it so interesting, I could listen to her for hours! Knowledgeable but, relatable, a really great course for anyone within a care home setting - thank you!
Jill Herbertson, Quality and Service Manager, Ann Inspired Care
Read More
I enjoyed the format and all the sessions - I feel I gained something new in each one. I felt the 'Conflict with an Attorney' class was very well done - pulling all the issues together, you could see how each session contributed.
Viktoria Seres, House co-ordinator, Newton Dee Village
Read More
It was very interesting and well explained, also engaging. I really appreciated the quizzes, a very good way to help staying focused

Course rates for learners

1 Learner


3-5 learners

Small group
£ 80 Per person

6-300+ learners

Large group
£ 75-35 Per person

Detailed course agenda


The AWI Principles (16:29)

  • Benefit
  • Least Restrictive Intervention
  • Taking account of past and present wishes and feelings
  • Taking account of the views of others
  • Encourage participation


Introducing Mary’s case study



Power of Attorney (16:37)

  • Welfare and/or Finance powers
  • Attorneys – How many? What is their Authority? Substitutes?
  • Powers – What are they? When do they start?
  • PoA Registration


Discussion around Power of Attorney (08:05)
Following on from her video, Sandra discusses some practical issues around Power of Attorney with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • When would be a good time to raise Power of Attorney with patients or residents?
  • What do health and care providers need to think about, or be conscious of, around Power of Attorney?


Discussion around Deprivation of Liberty (11:55)
In this video, Sandra discusses deprivation of liberty in the context of power of attorney with Nicki Parker from the Enhanced Care Home Team at NHS Tayside.

  • What is Deprivation of Liberty?
  • Can a Power of Attorney authorise it or not?
  • How will a Deprivation of Liberty safeguard be established in law?
  • Legal position yet to be made – subject to the findings of the Scott Review (due to report Autumn 2022)


Activity – Exploring Mary’s Power of Attorney


Guardianship (04:11)

  • Principles
  • Capacity
  • Supporting decision-making
  • Respecting rights, will & preferences
  • Powers of a guardian
  • Reporting concerns



Assessing an Individual’s Capacity (17:12)

  • A Presumption of Capacity
  • Capacity <=> Incapacity
  • Decision Specific Capacity
  • 5 tests for Assessing Capacity


Discussion around Capacity (09:50)
Following on from her video, Sandra discusses some practical issues around Capacity with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • Who can Assess Capacity?
  • Is there a difference between Assessing Capacity and Assessing Consent to Medical Treatment?
  • What does a Section 47 certificate mean and when does it become active?


Activity – Assessing Mary’s Capacity



Supporting an Individual’s Decision Making (12:56)

  • Exercise of Legal Capacity
  • Decision Making Influences
  • Supporting decision making – your approach and the process
  • Best interpretation decision making


Activity – Supported Decision Making in Mary’s case



“Respecting” an Individual’s Rights, Will and Preference (12:04)

  • Article 12(4) UNCRPD
  • What do we mean by ‘Rights’, ‘Will’ and ‘Preference’?
  • Case Example: Stephanie’s story
  • Paying Special Regard
  • Placing hands on a person to maintain their safety


Discussion around Fluctuating Capacity (03:55)
Following on from her video classes on Supported Decision Making and Respecting Rights, Will and Preference, Sandra conducts her third and final discussion with Susan Torrance – Adult Protection Adviser at NHS Tayside.

  • How can you assess capacity if someone’s presentation fluctuates? eg. alcohol and substance misuse.


Activity – Respect for Mary’s Rights, Will and Preferences



The Scottish Mental Health Law Review headlines (04:49)

  • Overarching purpose
  • Revised principles
  • Autonomous Decision Making
  • Supported decision-making



Challenges around AWI within a care setting (20:20)

  • Working with a guardian or attorney
  • Dealing with concerns about the way a guardian, or attorney, is using their powers
  • Supporting people with fluctuating capacity
  • Acting on suspicions of financial mismanagement


Care Providers and Next of Kin – Legal Positions, Rights and Responsibilities (16:32)

  • The legal positions and rights under a Power of Attorney or a Guardianship order
  • The responsibilities under the Adults with Incapacity Act – even when no PoA or Guardianship order exists
  • Practical example – A relative wishes to take a Care Home Resident out on a trip


Activity – How would you deal with Mary’s situation?


Conflict with an Attorney or Guardian – ‘To Regard or Disregard’ (21:22)

  • 6 questions to ask yourself when determining whether an Attorney’s or Guardian’s request should be adhered to
  • Know your legal obligations
  • Develop a policy on compliance with AWI & UNCRPD
  • Create a checklist for managing conflicts with Attorneys or Guardians


*Note: Each activity should take around 15mins to complete*

Introducing Our Trainer

Sandra McDonald

Director, EX-PG Ltd (and former Public Guardian for Scotland)

For 14 years (2004-2018) Sandra was the Public Guardian for Scotland. The Public Guardian supports as well as supervises those appointed, under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, to administer the affairs of persons with incapacity. Sandra holds qualifications in law, public sector management and nursing. As Public Guardian, she led a team of 80, delivering a service across the whole of Scotland.

Upon retiring as the Public Guardian in the summer of 2018, Sandra established EX-PG Ltd. She currently offers mental capacity/incapacity advice and training, drawing on the breadth and wealth of her experience as Public Guardian. All Sandra’s advice and training can be tailored to your needs and is specifically designed to assist both those supporting, as well as those developing and delivering services for, people with incapacity.

For more information, please visit –