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Reflective practice has a prominent and well-established place in professional education and practice. At the same time, professionals need to consider their own personal liabilities during a time of litigious and blaming culture, and the economic benefits that arise from their continuing employment. This chapter considers whether the models of reflective practice are sufficient to enable reflective practice to occur for professionals on their own or in groups. Other roles in society where competence is vital to safeguard lives benefit from ‘safe spaces’ to discuss their practice without fear of liability or loss of employment.

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This chapter is structured around the six DoLS assessments and the other decisions that BIAs make during their assessment. It includes updated case law, scenarios and examples to help readers explore these decisions as well as common challenges and dilemmas.

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This chapter explores the practical skills and knowledge required for working with the person, their family, friends and carers as well as other roles relevant to the DoLS. These include advocacy and representative roles, powers of attorney given by the person, advance decisions or powers given by the Court of Protection as well as work alongside safeguarding processes. It considers consultation requirements with the mental health assessor as well as managing authorities, supervisory bodies and professionals involved in ongoing decision making with the person.

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This chapter considers the BIA’s duties, responsibilities and powers, how the role is regarded and the impact of significant case law since its implementation. It explores how assessors can maintain their independence and accountability in the range of contexts in which BIAs work, whether directly for local authorities or as independent practitioners, how to maintain their boundaries from the pressures of expectations in these contexts and the impact of COVID-19 on BIA practice.

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This chapter explores the values and challenges of the BIA as a multi-professional identity, as well as giving focus to the particular and complementary contributions made by social work, nursing and occupational therapy to the role. The chapter explores reasons why psychologists appear less engaged in the role than other professions, the differences experienced by BIAs practising in Wales, and the contribution of other professional expertise, particularly the potential contribution of speech and language therapists to BIA skills and knowledge.

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This introductory chapter sets out the structure of the book and introduces some of the key ideas and themes, as well as setting out the main legal framework, case law and developments since the implementation of DoLS, including planned reform of human rights law in the UK.

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This chapter explores the role of the BIA to act ethically, the challenges of making decisions as a BIA when there are no clear ‘right’ answers, professional responsibilities towards professional practice and ethical models to assist with making difficult and complex decisions.

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This chapter enables BIAs to explore the influences and context for their decisions, and offers tools and models to aid reflection and critical thinking with examples of BIA decision making. It also offers theoretical and research contexts for commonly encountered conditions in BIA practice, such as dementia, learning disabilities, autism and acquired brain injury, and explores key challenges such as executive capacity.

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The BIA Practice Handbook remains the only textbook that focuses directly on the BIA role within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. It is considered to be the definitive introduction to Best Interests Assessor practice, and is acknowledged to be a valuable resource for both students and practitioners as it contains detailed knowledge and support for ethical decision making in practice. The latest edition has been updated to take into account recent legislative changes, including the Mental Capacity Amendment Act 2019, recent case law, plus the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on BIA practice.

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The Best Interests Assessor (BIA) Practice Handbook is firmly grounded in real-life practice and remains the only textbook focusing directly on the BIA role. Offering clear and practical advice on the legal elements of the role, and the values and practice elements of working within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) framework, this is essential reading for BIA students and practitioners.

This fully-updated edition takes account of recent legislative changes, including the planned changes from the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), recent case law and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on BIA practice.

Packed with advice on delivering effective, person-centred, rights-driven practice, it includes:

  • case studies;

  • legal summaries;

  • decision-making activities;

  • CPD support;

  • examples of new case law in practice.

Looking forward, the book considers the new context for practice in the Approved Mental Capacity Professional (AMCP) role within the LPS and the potential roles that BIAs might fulfil in this new framework in the future.

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