Reflecting on values and bias in mental capacity decision-making

Bias in decision making

Decision making can be subject to both conscious and unconscious bias which can result in unfair outcomes for service users and patients. It is vital to reflect on your own personal and professional values, and how these might influence decisions or be subject to bias.

There are a number of ways in which bias can affect professional decisions:

Confirmation bias – The tendency to prefer or actively seek evidence that supports one’s expectations or initial beliefs and to dismiss evidence that does not.

Availability bias – A tendency to base decisions on the most readily available evidence, rather than the most appropriate evidence.

Hindsight Bias – This is where someone overestimates the predictability of events. Once the outcome of a series of events is known, such as a patient’s life history, this outcome often seems inevitable with important implications for capacity assessment.