Assisted Decision Making

The principles of assisted decision-making are outlined in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

These principles are aimed at supporting individuals who may have difficulty making decisions due to intellectual or cognitive impairments.

Here are the key principles:
1. Presumption of capacity:

The Act presumes that every person has decision-making capacity unless it’s proven otherwise. This means that individuals are assumed to be capable of making decisions unless there is evidence to the contrary.
2. Support and assistance:

The Act emphasizes the importance of providing support and assistance to individuals to help them make decisions. This support can come from family members, friends, or professionals, and should be tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences.

3. Maximizing decision-making capacity:

The Act encourages measures to maximize an individual’s decision-making capacity. This includes providing information in accessible formats, offering decision-making aids, and providing training or education to enhance decision-making skills.

4. Least restrictive intervention:

When making decisions on behalf of individuals who lack capacity, the Act requires that the least restrictive intervention be used. This means that decisions should be made in a way that respects the individual’s autonomy and minimizes interference with their rights and freedoms.

5. Best interests:

In cases where individuals lack capacity to make decisions, decisions should be made in their best interests. This involves considering their past and present wishes, feelings, beliefs, and values, as well as consulting with relevant parties, such as family members or healthcare professionals.

6. Participation and consultation:

The Act emphasizes the importance of involving individuals in decision-making processes to the greatest extent possible. This includes consulting with them, seeking their views and preferences, and involving them in discussions about their care and support.

7. Review and accountability:

The Act provides for regular review of decisions made on behalf of individuals who lack capacity. This ensures that decisions remain appropriate and in the individual’s best interests over time. Additionally, there are mechanisms in place to hold decision-makers accountable for their actions.