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Mental capacity and traumatic brain injury

Mental capacity and traumatic brain injury

Mantell, Andrew, Underdown, Lucy and Bennett, Jane (2016) Mental capacity and traumatic brain injury. In: Eighth International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health, 19-23 Jun 2016, National University of Singapore, Singapore. (Unpublished)

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Environmental stressors cause significant variations in the judgement and reasoning ability of people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study appraised the mental capacity legislation of England as applied to people with TBI.


A policy map, using Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) scoping methodology, was developed to explore the mental capacity legislation, policy, guidance. This was then thematically reviewed to identify central tenets, which were critically considered from a practice perspective.


The legislation focuses on individual decisions in isolation from their real world setting. The validity of the diagnostic component in assessing capacity has been questioned under the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, overly optimistic assumptions of mental capacity can result from limited understanding of the impact of TBI. When functional assessments are conducted, measures intended to support an individual’s decision making can produce a misleading understanding of their day to day capacity without such supports or in the presence of environmental stressors.


People with TBI are not well served by the current legislative framework. Social workers have an important role in ensuring they are not left vulnerable.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental capacity, traumatic brain injury, social work
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2019 10:35

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