Yesterday, the Department of Health published its General Scheme for Advance Directives – a proposed addition to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013, to be made at Committee stage. The publication of the scheme is certainly welcome, as is the opportunity for individuals to provide submissions to the Department on the Scheme, which will hopefully inform the final version introduced during Committee stage of the Bill.
There are a number of positive aspects to the proposal from a human rights perspective – most notably that the opportunity to make an advance directive will be open to individuals who wish to create these binding documents for both physical and mental healthcare decisions. Similarly, the scheme provides that it will be possible for an individual to refuse medical treatment, even if to do so might result in death. However, there are some important caveats on these positive provisions which merit further discussion. Continue reading “Advance Directives and Ireland's New Capacity Legislation”