Advanced Decisions

An Advanced Decision will not cover you in the event that you lose mental capacity and are unable to govern your own financial affairs or to make decisions for instance, where you might reside and issues relating to your optical and dentistry needs. This is why we advocated a Lasting Power of Attorney in addition to your Advanced Decision.

The Code of Practice under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes it quite clear that in an Advanced Decision you cannot seek to refuse basic care which includes the provision of warmth, shelter and the offering of food and water by mouth.

In order to enter into an Advanced Decision you need to have mental capacity to do so.

An Advanced Decision must still be applicable to the treatment in question at the material time. It will not be applicable if you are still able to make decisions yourself i.e. it will only apply when the capacity to decide for yourself has been lost. Nor will the Advanced Decision be applicable if there are reasonable grounds to believe that circumstances exist which you did not anticipate when you made the Advanced Decision which would have effected your decision had you known about them. This is why Advanced Decisions must be kept up to date, for instance if you made an Advanced Decision and a new type of treatment or machine came onto the market in later years a Doctor is likely to ask the question would you have been influenced by that and still maintained your decision.

You can refuse all medical or surgical treatment or procedures (including life sustaining treatment) which are aimed only at prolonging or sustaining your life and this refusal shall apply to such procedures and treatment even if your life is at risk. It cannot be used to request specific medical treatment, nor can it be used to request an illegal act e.g. help in committing suicide.

Advance Decisions to refuse treatment are covered by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. A valid Advance Decision refusing life saving treatment means, by law, that a person cannot be treated. If treatment was provided, then legal action may be taken against the healthcare provider doing so.