An Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) is a written statement of your wishes to refuse a particular treatment in a specific situation. It is a way of making sure that everyone knows what treatments you do not want to have, if you are unable to make your own decisions in the future.
Here are examples of situations where an ADRT can be used:
- If your illness could not be cured and you became very unwell after all possible treatment, you would not want to be kept alive by being fed or given fluids through a feeding tube or drip.
- If you are being fed or given fluids through a feeding tube or drip, you do not want this to continue if your condition were to get worse and it is not improving your quality of life.
- You do not want to be given antibiotics for an infection if you are only expected to live for a few days.
We have an example of how some of this information could be written in an ADRT document.
An ADRT cannot include a request to have treatment or to have your life ended. You can request, but not insist on, treatment in your wishes for your care.
It is important to be as clear as possible about:
- the circumstances when you would like your ADRT to apply
- what type of treatment you would want to refuse.
This is to make your wishes clear to anyone reading the document. It will also help them decide whether your ADRT meets all the legal requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. If it does meet these, it is legally binding. This means it must be respected by your doctors and those involved in your care.
If you make an Advance Decision to refuse a specific treatment, you will still be given the best possible care. You will have support, comfort and medicines to control your symptoms.