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Making treatment and care decisions on someone else’s behalf

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If your loved one has an illness, treatment and care decisions may need to be made on their behalf if they lack capacity to make a decision for themselves. This section explains how you can be involved in making decisions for your loved one.


This information in this section applies to people living in England and Wales. There are different laws that help people make decisions about medical treatment or care in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

4.1 Getting information about my loved one’s health or prognosis

Getting information about your loved one’s health depends on whether they’ve given their doctor permission to do so and what’s in their best interests.

4.2 Representing a family member or friend who lacks capacity

Family, partners or next of kin should be included in decisions about their loved one’s care if they lack capacity.

4.3 What if I disagree about a decision that my loved one’s doctor has made?

If there’s a disagreement about your loved one’s treatment, the doctor should try to balance everyone’s concerns and act in your loved one’s best interests.