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Patient narrative: an ‘on-switch’ for evaluating best interests
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Carolyn Johnston, N Banner, A Fenwick
This article examines how the wishes, feelings, values and beliefs of adults lacking capacity can be evaluated and the extent to which they are given effect in best interests decision-making. One way of fulfilling the clinician’s legal responsibilities to take a patient’s preferences into account is to explicitly link these to the notion of narrative. Narratives provide a compelling grounding and give weight to views and values that may have been informally and consistently expressed in the past. An evaluation of recent case law suggests that the trajectory of a person’s life, their character and personality, and the perspectives of those with whom the patient has valued relationships are given increasing judicial recognition. Attending to the narrative of the patient could lead to a more sophisticated judgement of best interests than an objective ‘balance sheet’ approach would allow and enable greater alignment with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.