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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 18/01/2023 12:30:16

Title of Module: Assessment of Capacity

Code: NURS11151 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Health and Life Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Louise  Ritchie

Summary of Module

This module will equip students with an in-depth understanding of capacity in health care, that is, a person's ability to understand and process information that has been given in order to make decisions about accepting or rejecting any offered treatment or intervention.

When providing treatment or intervention for anyone who may lack capacity, it is essential to have the knowledge and skills to assess capacity and to know the appropriate steps to take when an individual's decision making is in doubt.  This module takes a human rights-based approach to capacity and its assessment.  It will provide students with the knowledge required to understand capacity issues, assess capacity and do so in a way that preserves dignity and recognises the needs of the individual and their significant others.

This module will contribute to the development of UWS graduate attributes including critical thinking, analytical, enquiring and culturally aware collaborative research-minded graduate. One that is digitally literate and motivated; creative and resilient. Leading to success and enhanced work-related opportunities.

(The module will provide the understanding and knowledge of capacity issues required by a variety of health and social care practitioners to meet the requirements of the Scottish Legislative Framework, where such professionals who have relevant qualifications and who have adequate training, can assess capacity with a view to enabling the treatment of people who may have capacity issues.  Successful completion of this module provides academic preparation only for this role.)

  • To provide the understanding and knowledge of capacity issues required to make capacity decisions, based on the requirements set within the Scottish Legislative Framework. While this module provides academic preparation for this role there are other professional and local criteria that will be required to become a capacity certificate signatory.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:






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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2


Term 3check mark

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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Critically assess the impact of capacity assessment on processes and outcomes for an individual and significant others whose capacity is questioned.

L2. Provide a sound rationale of the principles guiding the legislation, including an understanding of ethical decision making and human rights.

L3. Critically appraise a range of factors which may influence capacity and recognise the importance of interpersonal and interprofessional communication in capacity decision making.

L4. Critically reflect on the impact of their own and others beliefs, values and professional backgrounds and how these may affect capacity decisions.

L5. Analyse the suitability of a range of validated tools used to assist capacity judgements, and give clear rationales for their use.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate extensive knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary theory, principles and concepts in relation to the assessment of capacity.

Critical appraisal of current systems of decision making and appropriate legislation

Recognise the need for capacity assessment and associated application of legislation in the context of treatments which lie within their professional remit.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Source, apply and demonstrate the use of a range of standard and specialised research literature and materials associated with their subject discipline or sector and in this topic area.

Further enhance professional development by making use of a variety of evidence-based resources that may assist in decision making in the workplace.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis skills to contemporary issues which may impact on those people who lack capacity.

Develop creative and original responses when analysing capacity issues in theory and practice.

Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Use a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and apply adjustments to features to suit their purpose.

Undertake critical evaluations of a wide range of statistical and graphical data.

Communicate using an appropriate method for a range of audiences with different levels of expertise.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrate autonomy and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.

Utilise a critical understanding of complex ethical issues in relation to promoting the autonomy of individuals who lack capacity with people requiring health and/or social care, the wider public and their peers.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module is delivered as fully distance learning via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Students will take part in a range of online student-centred activities with the lecturer and student peers, via the VLE. They will have access to direct synchronous individual and tutorial support from their tutors and directed learning via the VLE system. This will be aided by asynchronous online discussion boards; virtual learning activities; tutorials; directed wider reading including access to the library, e-books and links to external documents, government reports, international and national research, policies and protocols.

Participants will be encouraged to take control of their own learning and become self-motivated learners. This approach recognises the wealth of knowledge and richness of experience students may already have at their disposal. Students will be expected to work through the module materials via the VLE, independently. This will assist in enhancing skills of collaboration, communication, presentation, problem-solving and critical reflection of themselves.

Module content reflects societal diversity and a rights-based approach to policy and practice. To promote accessibility, anticipatory adjustments have been made to teaching and learning strategies eg availability of electronic copies of lecture materials. Further reasonable adjustments can be made for students who have been assessed as requiring specific adjustments eg, specialised equipment for studying.

The learning activities for both on-line and face-to-face delivery are outlined in the next section.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Personal Development Plan6
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Asynchronous Class Activity42
Independent Study140
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Hughes J.C., Balwin C. (2006) Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions (Bradford Dementia Group Good Practice Guides). London, Jessica Kingsley

Bingham, S. (2012) Refusal of treatment and decision-making capacity. Nursing Ethics, 19(1), pp. 167–172. Available at:

Hermann, H.,Trachsel, M., Biller-Andorno, N. (2015) Physicians’ personal values in determining medical decision-making capacity: a survey study. Journal of Medical Ethics. medethics-2014, pp.1-6. doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102263

Hughes J.C., Balwin C. (2006) Ethical Issues in Dementia Care: Making Difficult Decisions (Bradford Dementia Group Good Practice Guides). London, Jessica Kingsley.

Hughes, J.C.(2014) How we think about dementia: personhood, rights, ethics, the arts and what they mean for care. London, Jessica Kingsley.

MacIntyre G., Stewart, A., McCusker, P. (2018) Safeguarding Adults: Key Themes and Issues. Basingstoke, Palgrave.

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (2018) The Law: Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003 and the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015.
Available at:

Mughal A.F., Richards S.(2015) The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Handbook. Hounslow, Books Wise Publications Ltd

Russ, T.C., Thomson A., Lyons D.(2015) Medical certification of incapacity in guardianship applications: conceptualising capacity. BJPsych Bulletin, 39(5), pp. 1-4, doi:10.1192/pb.bp.113.044719

MacIntyre G., Stewart, A., McCusker, P.(2018) Safeguarding Adults: Key Themes and Issues. Basingstoke, Palgrave.

Scottish Government (2018) Topic: The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 Available at

Sheffield City Council (2015) Health & Social Care: Adult care:Abuse: Info for Professionals: MCA and DOLS: Deprivation of Liberty. Professionals - Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS). Available at:

Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (2018) The Law: Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003 and the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015.
Available at:

Mughal A.F., Richards S.(2015) The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) Handbook. Hounslow, Books Wise Publications Ltd

Russ, T.C., Thomson A., Lyons D. (2015) Medical certification of incapacity in guardianship applications: conceptualising capacity. British Journal of Psychology Bulletin, 39(5), pp. 1-4. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.113.044719

Scottish Government (2008)About the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. Available at:

Scottish Government (2018) Topic: The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. Available at

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Regular interaction with the University VLE to access learning resources, and completion and submission of the module assessments on time (or at an agreed extension with Module Co-ordinator). If submission is not feasible then the use of the extenuating circumstances procedure would be expected (See:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardMental Health Nursing & IP
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelMHN&IP L9-11
ModeratorMargaret Brown
External ExaminerL Macaden
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
A marked Asynchronous Discussion Forum that examines the rights, responsibilities and ethics of capacity decision making.
An in-depth case study exploring and evaluating significant issues for a person who may lack capacity or who has had their capacity questioned while requiring a medical, health or social care intervention.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Clinical/ Fieldwork/ Practical skills assessment/ Debate/ Interview/ Viva voce/ Oralcheck markcheck markcheck mark  300

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Case studycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark700
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
At UWS and within the School of Health and Life Sciences we are committed to advancing and promoting equality and
diversity in all of our activities and aim to establish an inclusive culture, free from discrimination and based upon
the values of fairness, dignity and respect.
We do this by promoting equality, valuing diversity and communicating the importance of dignity both at work and study.
We are committed to enhancing wellbeing; (see
and have the structures, leadership and support in place to embed equality, diversity and inclusion into everything we
do. For further information, see

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.