The Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act 2015

The Act was signed into law on the 30/12/2015 and will commence in a phased process.

The act will fundamentally change the way decisions are made by or for the most vulnerable members of society.

It will allow an individual to determine his or her health treatment in the event he or she loses capacity to make their own recessions in the future.

The act will have huge implications in relation to a person’s capacity now or in the future and it will also have an impact on the healthcare and financial sectors.

Key features of the act:

The abolition of Wardship and the affirmation of a functional approach to capacity i.e. Individual capacity being assessed on basis of their ability to understand issues at the time the decision is made.

A new regime to the 2015 Enduring Power of Attorney Act (see previous Article on EPAs) allowing fundamental differences including more safeguards as regards personal property and affairs extending to healthcare (but not to the refusal of life- sustaining treatment).

The appointment of a Director of decision support services and establishment of a Decision Support Service which will form a new wider Mental Health Commission.

The provision of support services for vulnerable individuals who need assistance with decision making. Individuals will be able to formally appoint decision making assistants or co-decision makers who will be under the supervision of the Director of decision support.

The introduction of advanced healthcare directives which will allow an individual to make an advanced expression of his/her will and preference on treatment decisions.

Impacts of the Act:

This legislation will result in the improvement in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities as their ability to make decisions will be enshrined in law.

It will have huge implications in relation to a person’s capacity now or in the will also impact the healthcare and financial sectors.

A new and informed approach to the Mental Health Commission.