If you haven’t planned ahead about who will make decisions about your care should you become seriously ill and unable to make decisions for yourself then usually your carers and family will be involved in making everyday decisions about your care.
However, sometimes a decision may need to be made about your medical care or treatment.
If this is the case, a senior healthcare professional will make the decision about giving you a treatment. They will base this decision on their experience and understanding of your circumstances.
They will discuss the decision with your family, friends and anyone else who might be involved in your care. These decisions are known as best interests decisions.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out several factors that should be considered when making a best interests decision. These include:
- all the relevant circumstances
- your past and present wishes, and values and beliefs
- the views of anyone caring for you, such as a family member, friend or carer.
The Act states that a best interests decision should not be based on your age, condition, appearance or any aspect of your behaviour.
It has safeguards to make sure that those who make decisions think about all the relevant circumstances about your care. It also makes sure that the motives of the person making the decision are proper and in your best interests.