What is Supported Decision Making

What is Supported Decision Making

Supported Decision Making is for people who may need help with decision-making because of a disability.  The South Australian trial aims to study supported decision making when it is offered to people who have had a brain injury, stroke, intellectual disability or a neurological condition affecting decision making.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities, expects that people should make their own decisions wherever possible, and that if they need help, they should get the support that they need to make decisions.  The aim is to provide support, instead of appointing another person to make decisions for them.

The South Australia project is trialling an approach to Supported Decision Making, in which a person nominates one or more people that that they know, to act as a supporter.  An extra person “a monitor” helps with the process, and identifies problems if they occur.

The supporter can be a trusted family member or friend . 

The supporter can then assist a person make their decisions about health care, where they live, support services, work, leisure and lifestyle matters.

The person receiving support needs to be able to:

  • To express a wish to receive support.
  • To form a trusting relationship with another person (s)(supporter or monitor).
  • To indicate what decisions they may need support for.
  • To indicate who they wish to receive support from for which decision.
  • To express a wish to end support if that time comes.
  • To be aware that they are making the final decision and not their supporter.

The decision supporter

  • Respect and value the supported person’s autonomy and dignity.
  • Know the supported person’s goals, values and preferences.
  • Respect the individual decision making style of the supported person and recognise when and how support may be offered.
  • To form a trusting relationship with the supported person.
  • Be willing in the role of supporter, to fulfil their duty to the supported person, and not use this role as a way of advancing their own interests or any other person’s interests.
  • To be able to spend as much time as is required to support a person make each decision.

The Monitor’s tasks include

  • To be aware of all decisions made and how support is provided.
  • To provide assistance to the supported person and supporter in undertaking the supported decision making process.
  • To act as a resource for the other parties when a matter is difficult to resolve.
  • To take necessary action if the monitor believes that the supported decision making agreement has broken down.

More information about Supported Decision Making can be obtained from:

Office of the Public Advocate
Telephone 8342 8200

10 April 2013