Managing your care if you have not planned ahead

You may worry about who will make decisions about your care if you have not planned ahead and you become seriously ill and unable to make decisions for yourself.

Usually your carers and family will be involved in making everyday decisions about your care. However, sometimes a very important or very difficult decision may need to be made about your medical care or treatment.

If there is an emergency and you do not have capacity to make your own decisions, a senior healthcare professional will make the decision about giving you a treatment. They will use principles set out in the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 to make their decision. They must be satisfied that any treatment they give will benefit you. Their decision should also take into account:

  • your wishes, if your healthcare professionals know them or can find them out
  • the views of anyone caring for you, such as a family member, friend or carer.

In a non-emergency situation, the same principles apply but the doctor recommending the treatment must assess your capacity. If you are assessed to be unable to make the decision about the treatment yourself, the doctor will complete a certificate of incapacity. Your doctor or your attorney (if you have one) will then make the treatment decision on your behalf. If possible, they will find out what your likely wishes would be.