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You may worry about becoming seriously ill and being unable to make decisions for yourself. If this happens and you have not planned ahead, other people will need to make decisions for you.
Sometimes a decision may need to be made about your medical care or treatment. No one has the legal authority to consent to medical care or treatment on your behalf. In this situation, a senior healthcare professional will make the decision based on their experience and understanding of your circumstances. They will discuss the decision with your family, friends and anyone else who might be involved in your care. These decisions are known as best interests decisions.
There are several things a healthcare professional should consider when making a best interests decision. These include:
A best interests decision should not be based on your age, condition, appearance or any aspect of your behaviour.
A best interests decision makes sure all the relevant circumstances about your care are taken into account. It also makes sure that the motives of the person making the decision are proper and in your best interests.
The views of your family and friends will be taken into consideration in any best interests decision. But the final responsibility for the decision remains with the decision maker. Sometimes this means the views of family members are not followed. In this situation, the healthcare professional should explain to the family the law about best interests decisions and the reason for the decision.
We rely on a number of sources to gather evidence for our information. If you’d like further information on the sources we use, please feel free to contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
All our information is reviewed by cancer or other relevant professionals to ensure that it’s accurate and reflects the best evidence available. We thank all those people who have provided expert review for the information on this page.
Our information is also reviewed by people affected by cancer to ensure it is as relevant and accessible as possible. Thank you to all those people who reviewed what you're reading and have helped our information to develop.
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We make every effort to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date but it should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialist professional advice tailored to your situation. So far as is permitted by law, Macmillan does not accept liability in relation to the use of any information contained in this publication or third party information or websites included or referred to in it.