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Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment

A legally-binding decision to refuse future treatment, including life-sustaining treatment.

Such decisions must comply with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and its Code of Practice. They can be made by a person of 18 years or above who has Capacity at the time the decision is made, and must specify the treatment to be refused, and the circumstances in which it is refused. The decision to refuse treatment relates to a time in the future when the person making the decision no longer has Capacity.

Such a decision can be withdrawn or altered at any time while the person still has Capacity.

Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment that meet all of the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act are legally binding on health and social care professionals. This makes Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment quite distinct from other aspects of advance care planning

Prior to the commencement of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, these were sometimes referred to as ‘advance directives’.

A person may make both an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment, and a more general Advance Statement.


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