If you are over 18 years old, in order to make legal documents and consent to medical treatment, you need to have decision-making capacity.
Impaired decision-making capacity
Impaired decision-making capacity means that you are unable to manage parts of the decision-making process.
If you have impaired decision-making capacity, you may not be able to:
- understand some or all of the information that is relevant to a decision
- understand the consequences of a decision
- remember the relevant information, even for a short time
- use this information to make your decision, and
- communicate your decision to others in some way.
You may be able to make one decision, and not another – your capacity should be assessed in relation to each particular decision.
You may still have the capacity to make a particular decision, even if:
- you are not able to understand certain types of information
- you can only remember information for a short period of time
- you make a decision that results in a negative outcome
- your ability to make decisions changes over time.
Getting extra help
If you have impaired decision-making capacity, you may need help from:
- a family member or friend, who makes decisions informally - see our Informal Arrangements fact sheet (PDF, 620.9 KB)
- a Person Responsible, who makes health care decisions - see our Consent to Medical Treatment fact sheet (PDF, 522.5 KB)
- a substitute decision-maker, who is appointed under an Advance Care Directive - see our Advance Care Directives fact sheet (PDF, 519.9 KB)
- a guardian, who is appointed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) - see our Guardianship & the Public Advocate fact sheet (PDF, 496.0 KB).