Families and the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act

03 Feb, 2023


In a short video message for families and their loved ones, the Director of the Decision Support Service (DSS) has outlined what the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 might mean for them.

“Family carers and the people that they care for should be reassured that the framework of supports available under the Act is not imposed on anyone,” says Áine Flynn, adding that “the DSS will be involved with individual families only in relation to formal arrangements that are made under the Act.

“The level of formal support that is appropriate, if any, depends on a person’s circumstances and the decisions that they need to make. There is no obligation on a person to appoint a decision-making assistant, or co-decision-maker. It is not expected that families will have to apply to court to become decision-making representatives to manage the practicalities of everyday decision-making.”

Ms. Flynn continues: “However, there may come a time when a particular decision may need to be made that requires a level of formal support that can be provided under the Act. Such decisions could relate to a person’s money, their property, or their personal welfare”.

You can watch the video message in full here.


Accurate information is important and the DSS has developed a range of resources for families to learn more, all of which can be accessed below.

  • Many and varied frequently asked questions relating to the 2015 Act have been raised by family carers and others, and we have provided answers on our website: Frequently Asked Questions
  • For more detailed information, we have published two videos. The first of these videos is a 30-minute presentation on the key reforms that the 2015 Act brings, including the guiding principles, the functional assessment of capacity, details of the decision-making framework and an outline of the Director’s functions.
  • The first video also explains, options for advance planning by way of enduring power of attorney and advance healthcare directive and addresses common misunderstandings about the role of the ‘next of kin’.
  • The second video published is a shorter, more condensed 13-minute version. This video provides practical information on the role of the DSS, and the decision-making arrangements people can make.
  • In conjunction with the Courts Service, we developed a video which sets out what the commencement of the 2015 Act will mean for people who are leaving wardship and their families: Court Service & Decision Support Service Information

The HSE’s National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy has developed a range of materials designed to explain what the Act is about.

  • Their explainer video briefly describes how the Act can benefit all of us should we need support in making decisions at any stage in our lives.
  • In another video, entitled “Respecting the rights of the person and the role of families under the 2015 Act”, the HSE explores a range of matters, including how family members can help to provide information about their loved ones’ will and preferences.
  • In November 2021, we helped to launch a collection of essays in conjunction with the HSE’s National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy, and the School of Law in UCC, entitled ‘The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015: Personal and Professional Reflections’.

The essays have been written by ‘experts by experience’ who have generously shared their powerful personal accounts about what the 2015 Act means to them.


Families who want to find out more can contact the DSS’s dedicated information services team on 01 211 9750. 

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