Supported decision making

Supported decision-making vs dependent capacity

Supporting an individual to make a decision is different from an individual being dependent on another person to be able to make a decision.  

Supported decision making refers to the process of providing an individual with support to make a decision for themselves or to be able to express their wishes when someone else, such as an attorney, makes the decision on their behalf. This means the individual can independently weigh up the quality of information provided and determine whether it is sufficient or not, and if not, identify what additional information they require to make an informed decision.  

Dependent capacity describes an individual who is reliant on others to be able to make an informed decision relating to the specific decision in question, and without this support they are unable to make the decision because the weighing up and applying of information is a process that the individual is not able to accomplish by themselves.

Risks of not supporting decision-making

Accurate assessment of an individual’s decision-making ability can be enabled by professionals understanding ways of effectively supporting individuals ‘decision-making.  

Inaccurate assessment may result in a person being denied the right to autonomous decision-making or lead a person to make a decision without their understanding the full implications and consequences.