Best interests principle

It is important for the application of the MCA to have a fundamental understanding of the best interests principle.

If a person has been assessed as lacking capacity then any action taken, or any decision made for, or on behalf of that person, must be made in his or her best interests ( principle 4 ). The person who has to make the decision is known as the ‘decision-maker’ and normally will be the carer responsible for the day-to-day care, or a professional such as a doctor, nurse or social worker where decisions about treatment, care arrangements or accommodation need to be made.

Best interest principles in care planning

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What is ‘best interests’?

The MCA provides a non-exhaustive checklist of factors that decision-makers must work through in deciding what is in a person’s best interests.

Some of the factors to take into consideration are:

Again, it is vital that you record your best interests decision. Not only is this good professional practice, but given the evidence-based approach required by the MCA, you will have an objective record should your decision or decision-making processes later be challenged.

For more detailed information you should refer to the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice .