When treatment decisions are made on behalf of a person who lacks capacity, they must be made in their best interests. However, sometimes people might disagree about what is in your best interests.
If this happens, the person responsible for making the decision should try to find a way to balance these concerns, but ultimately they have the responsibility to make the final decision based on what they feel is in your best interests.
If there’s a disagreement that can’t be settled it might be possible to involve an advocate or get a second opinion from another healthcare professional.
An advocate is an independent person who can represent a person who lacks capacity when decisions need to be made on their behalf. An advocate can’t make decisions about treatment or care, but the decision-maker must consider any information the advocate gives them.
It’s also possible that those in charge of your care might arrange a meeting, which those close to you could be invited to. The purpose of this meeting will be for each person to explain what they feel is best for you and to decide on a way forward.
If the disagreement can’t be resolved then the hospital may arrange for mediation. This is when an independent person discusses the problem or disagreement with everyone involved in your care and helps the group to find a solution.
Court of Protection
If all of these attempts to resolve a disagreement fail, the Court of Protection can be asked to make a decision. This Court was set up to protect people who are unable to make decisions for themselves. They have the power to decide what’s in someone’s best interests, based on all the evidence presented to them.