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In some instances, a care worker may feel that there is a conflict between their duty of care and the wishes of the person using the service. Best interest decisions can only be made for individuals who are not able to decide matters for themselves at the time a particular decision needs to be taken.

Before you begin to think about best interests, you need to be sure that the person doesn’t have the capacity to make this decision.

For example, an individual in your care decides that they want to go and collect some groceries from a local store. You don’t think that this is a good idea because he would have to cross a busy road and his sight and hearing are impaired, but he is perfectly capable of making a decision, what would you do as his carer?

Almost every choice that people make on a daily basis involve some element of risk, which are no different to the decisions made by people using health and social care. Completely avoiding any risks would constrain any individual’s opportunities or choices. As new choices and opportunities arise they are likely to involve the consideration of taking risks.

In the scenario we have mentioned, where the gentleman wants to go to the grocery shop, there is no reason or evidence to assume that he does not have the capacity to make the decision or that he is making an unwise decision with his capacity. In this case, the law states that you cannot assume that this person cannot make his own decision simply because of his sight and hearing impairment. There may be information that you are unaware of, for example, there may be a school crossing patrol who always helps the gentlemen in your care to cross the road.

If his behaviour did suggest that he may lack the capacity to make the decision, then as a carer you would need to carry out a capacity assessment which is a process with 2 stages. Firstly you would need to identify if there is an impairment or disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain and secondly you would have to identify that this would prevent the gentlemen from making the decision.

  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.2a
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1b
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1c