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Acquired Brain Injuries

21 April 2016

Practice guidance published for Social Workers on ABI

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Brain Injury Social Work Group have published "Practice Guidance for Social Workers working with acquired Brain Injury".

The aim of the guidance is to increase awareness among social workers and to provide guidance about what an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is; the range of problems caused by ABI and how intervention and support by social workers can benefit individuals.

The guidance links to social workers being able to demonstrate an appropriate level of skill in accordance with their Professional Capabilities Framework and the knowledge and skill framework for adults and child and family social work.  

To comply with the statutory duty under the Care Act and section 5 of the Care and Support (Assessment) Regulations 2014 to ensure that the needs of a person are appropriately assessed, Local Authorities have to ensure assessments for care and support are carried out by professionals with appropriate knowledge and training. This guidance is an important first step  in assisting social workers to properly identify a person with ABI and the needs that arise from the condition when assessing needs under the Care Act 2014, consider whether an ABI individual has capacity and in considering the vulnerabilities of persons with ABI under their safeguarding duty.

Christopher Binns, a solicitor in Wrigleys Health & Care team comments: "Historically, a lack of knowledge and experience of the effects of ABI have led some social workers to often underestimate a person's needs, overestimate their capacity and underestimate their vulnerabilities. Wrigleys therefore welcomes the guidance as a first step in providing a more comprehensive and accurate account of the needs of individuals with ABI. The Guidance and the accompanying Brain Injury Needs Indicator is a welcome addition to the tools at the disposal of social workers to ensure more accurate needs assessments. It is to be hoped that Local Authorities take up the opportunity to provide specialist training in ABI to social workers to ensure they fulfil their duties under the Care Act 2014."

For individuals with ABI, their carers and representatives it will be important to establish that assessments for Care and Support or under the Mental Capacity Act are being carried out by social workers with the appropriate knowledge and expertise.      

Further reading

The Full Guidance is accessible here

The Brain Injury Needs Indicator is accessible here

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Christopher Binns on 0114 267 5588.

To keep up to date with further updates from the Wrigleys Health & Care team, you can follow on Twitter here

The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors.



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