Alliance policies: Advance directives and advance statements

We believe that advance directives and advance statements are important mechanisms for safeguarding and promoting a patientís interests and health. An advance directive allows a person to refuse specific treatment in the future should they lose capacity to consent. Advance statements are a means of giving details of the care and treatment a patient would like to receive should they lose capacity at some time in the future, including whom they wish to act as a nominated person. Both of these mechanisms can help can promote individual autonomy and empowerment; they can enhance communication between patients and those involved in their care; and they can protect individuals from receiving unwanted or possibly harmful treatment..

The Alliance welcomes provision in the Mental Capacity Act for advance directives and some legal recognition for advance statements when determining someoneís best interests. We believe that to ensure equity and parity in both legal and practical terms, advance directives and advance statements must be included within future mental health legislation.

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