Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015
About the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was passed by the Oireachtas on December 17, 2015. Within this Act is a new provision to legislate for Advance Healthcare Directives. Under the provision, an adult with capacity can make a legally binding statement – an Advance Healthcare Directive – and refuse any form of treatment, including life-sustaining treatment. This Directive comes into effect if an adult loses capacity at some time in the future and is unable to make treatment decisions for themselves. This Act applies to everyone and has relevance for all health and social care services.
Read the act in its entirety here.
12 key things you should know:
- Advance Healthcare Directives have been recognised in common law for some time but the Act provides for a legislative framework.
- Under the new provision, a person aged 18 and over who has capacity can prepare an Advance Healthcare Directive.
- They must put their decisions on future medical treatment in writing and their Advance Healthcare Directive must be witnessed.
- A person can revoke an Advance Healthcare Directive at any time providing the person still has capacity to do so. This must be done in writing.
- No one can be forced to create an Advance Healthcare Directive.
- Having witnesses to the Advance Healthcare Directive is designed to prevent people being forced to make certain decisions.
- You can nominate people who will be legally recognised as acting on your behalf at a time when you lose capacity and can ensure your Advance Healthcare Directive is enforced.
- An Advance Healthcare Directive only comes into force when you have lost capacity and cannot make a decision.
- Having an Advance Healthcare Directive helps healthcare professionals in caring for you the way you want.
- Having an Advance Healthcare Directive helps families as it removes doubt about what care their loved one wanted.
- If there is any doubt about an Advance Healthcare Directive, a person can go to the courts.
- This is not euthanasia or assisted suicide. These acts are illegal in Ireland.