We have just added a comprehensive FREE Guidance document for Managers. It covers all of the aspects of best interests meetings and how to apply the MCA in practice.
Context – why Best Interests Decisions Making is Required
This guidance forms an appendix to the care service Mental Capacity Act Policy. The Mental Capacity Act and Code of Practice should also be referred to as necessary.
A failure to engage correctly and effectively with people who do not have the mental capacity to make specific decisions for themselves, may have serious implications for care agencies, particularly for health trusts and local social services authorities. We are required to work within the statutory principles set out in section (s.) 1 of the MCA, and more particularly to apply s.4 of the Act to our actions for people who cannot make decisions for themselves.
A best interests meeting may be needed where an adult (16+ years) lacks mental capacity to make significant decisions for themselves and needs others to make those decisions on their behalf. It is particularly important where there are a number of agencies working with the person, or where there are unresolved issues regarding either the person’s capacity or what is in their best interests and a consensus has not been reached. Issues around a person’s capacity should, however, ordinarily be resolved before a best interests meeting is convened.
A best interests decision cannot be made for a service user if they have been assessed as having capacity to make the decision or, where there is doubt about capacity, a capacity assessment has not been undertaken to confirm that they lack capacity.