What is the difference between an Advance Decision and an Advance Statement?

An Advance Decision only covers refusals of medical treatment, whereas an Advance Statement can include any information that you feel is important in relation to your health or care.

If an Advance Decision meets certain requirements, healthcare professionals have to follow it. For more information on these requirements see our factsheet: Making sure my Advance Decision is legally binding.

A healthcare professional doesn’t have to follow the exact instructions that are in an Advance Statement. What you write in your Advance Statement is still very important because it must be taken into account when someone is deciding what is in your ‘best interests’.

The Mental Capacity Act says that anyone who makes a decision on your behalf must act in your ‘best interests.’ When deciding what is in your ‘best interests’, the decision-maker must, amongst other things:

  • consider your wishes and feelings (this includes anything you have said to other people and things you have written down);
  • consider any values and beliefs you have that would be likely to influence the decision.

So, because an Advance Statement is evidence of your wishes, feelings, values and beliefs it must be considered when any decision is made on your behalf.

For more information, see guidance on Advance Statements.

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