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: