The key points of the Act
The Act provides a statutory framework for people to make an Advance Decision about the treatments they want to refuse in the future and is situation specific. An Advance Decision is a legally binding document and comes into effect when people have a lack of Mental Capacity, that is to say, they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
The Act also allows people to make an Advance Statement of their preferences, wishes, beliefs and values. If they become very ill and are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, the family, friends and healthcare professionals caring for the person can make decisions in their best interest based on the Advance Statement.
Additionally, the Act includes provision for a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare through which people can appoint someone to make decisions about their health and care on their behalf. The Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare comes into effect when the person is no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
The legal framework provided by the Act is supported by a Code of Practice, which provides guidance and information about how the Act works in practice.