Expert advice

When can relatives make decisions about a patient’s care?

Advice for nurses on who can make treatment decisions for a patient who lacks capacity, and what happens when there is conflict among relatives about their care

Who can make treatment decisions for a patient who lacks capacity – and what happens when there is conflict among relatives about a patient’s care

When a patient lacks capacity to make their own decisions, it can be difficult to manage relatives’ expectations, especially if they disagree on the right treatment.

When do relatives have the right to make decisions, and what can nurses do to help?

Treatment decisions and the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Caring for patients who lack capacity to make decisions is governed by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 . This provides a statutory framework, including how to assess a person’s capacity and how to provide care and treatment when a person lacks the

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