There are five decision support arrangements for people who have challenges with their capacity and who may need support to make certain decisions.
Under these decision support arrangements, people can be appointed as decision supporters. A decision supporter has the authority to help with certain decisions about a person’s personal welfare, property and money matters. The type of support they can provide depends on the decision support arrangement in place.
There are three types of decision supporters for people who currently face challenges when making decisions:
• Decision-making assistant
• Decision-making representative
There are two types of decision supporters for people who wish to plan ahead for a time in the future when they may be unable to make certain decisions. These are:
• Designated healthcare representative
If a person is unable to make certain decisions on their own without someone’s support, they will be able to choose someone they know and trust to be their decision-making assistant. This is written down in a decision-making assistance agreement.
The decision-making assistant’s role is to help the person to make decisions for themselves.
They will gather relevant information and explain it to the person. This might involve contacting a bank, utility, or healthcare provider. They will also help the person to understand and weigh up their options. They can also support the person to let other people know about the decision that has been made.
If a person is unable to make certain decision on their own they will be able to choose someone they know and trust to be their co-decision-maker. This is written down in a co-decision-making agreement.
The co-decision-maker’s role is to make certain decisions together with the person.
Like a decision-making assistant, they will gather relevant information and explain it to the person. They will also help the person to understand and weight up their options. The co-decision-maker will make the decision together with the person. This decision must reflect the wishes of the person. They can also support the person to let other people know about the decision that has been made.
If a person is unable to make certain decisions, the court will be able to appoint a decision-making representative to them. This will be written down in a decision-making representation order.
The decision-making representative’s role is to make certain decisions on the person’s behalf. The court lists all of the decisions that the decision-making representative can make. This may include decisions about property and money matters, as well as decisions about personal welfare.
Where possible, the court appoint someone the person knows and trusts. If there is no one suitable who is able to do the role, the court can appoint a decision-making representative from a panel of experts maintained by us.
Designated healthcare representative
If a person is planning ahead for healthcare decisions they may need to make in the future, they will be able to choose a designated healthcare representative. This is written down in an advanced healthcare directive.
The designated healthcare representative’s role is to act on the persons behalf for the healthcare and treatment decisions written in the person’s advance healthcare directive.
The person can give their designated healthcare representative the power to interpret their wishes, and to agree or refuse treatment on their behalf, based on what’s in the advance healthcare directive.
A designated healthcare representative only acts on the person’s behalf if they lose the ability to make certain healthcare decisions for themselves.
A person who is planning ahead for decisions they may need to make in the future will be able to choose someone they know and trust to be their attorney. This is written down in an enduring power of attorney.
An attorney’s role is to make certain decisions on behalf of the person, if they lose the ability to make those decisions in the future. You do not have to be a lawyer to be an attorney.
An attorney can only act on behalf of the person if the enduring power of attorney has been notified to us.