Table 3

Summary of findings

Positive experiencesHaving a legal basis for decision-making was recognised as useful
Benefits such as increased safety and quality of life were sometimes described
The ability to use the mechanisms of the Acts to plan for the future was seen as beneficial, although only a
minority did this
The legislation was sometimes perceived as empowering
Negative experiencesCourt and other legal processes were seen as challenging and cumbersome, and costs may be off-putting
Some participants had extremely negative experiences
The legislation was sometimes perceived as disempowering
Decision-makingDecisions were sometimes but not always made with the disabled adult's participation
Carers sometimes struggled to make decisions in the best interests of the adult lacking capacity
There could be conflicts of interest between the adult lacking capacity and the decision maker
Other issuesThere were variable findings related to support and supervision
There was a lack of understanding of the legislation on the part of the general public and carers
A need for carers to be assertive was described
The most common reason for applying for powers was because of a wish for a formal role in decision-making
There were no findings about carers' abilities to assess capacity
There were no findings about deprivation of liberty
Data were mainly derived from carers