A decision an adult makes, when he has capacity, to refuse the giving or continuing of specific medical treatment in specific, future circumstances, when he has lost capacity. Defined in section 24 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005), advance decisions are also known as advance decisions to refuse medical treatment (ADRT).
If an advance decision is valid and applicable, those giving medical treatment must comply with it even if they do not consider it to be in the individual's best interests. The incapacitated individual is therefore in the same position as an individual who has capacity, who is entitled to refuse medical treatment against the advice of healthcare professionals.
Before the MCA 2005 came into force on 1 October 2007, advance decisions were sometimes referred to as advance directives or living wills.
For more information, see Practice note, Advance decisions ( www.practicallaw.com/4-518-2903) .