This guide can be used by family, friends, carers and paid workers. Use it to support someone to make a decision.
The size of your role as a supporter will depend on your relationship to the decision maker and their support needs. No matter who you are supporting or your relationship to them, there are important principles to follow. These principles can guide you in your role. They also protect the rights of the person making the decision.
If you do not believe you can follow these principles then you should reconsider your role as a decision supporter.
Every person has the right to make decisions about the things that are important to them.
Disability is not a reason to exclude someone from making decisions.
Regardless of their decision making capacity, people can be supported to be involved in the decisions that affect them. The focus is on support not capacity.
You must only give as much support as is needed for the person to decide. The levels and kinds of support given will depend on the decision being made
Decision making is a skill that can be learnt. So is supporting someone to make a decision.
Decision support is about respecting the values, experiences and goals of the decision maker. You must be able to do this even when you do not agree with them, so that they can decide for themselves.
The decision maker is always in control. They have the right to change their mind, make mistakes, learn from their experience and choose a decision supporter.
You must have a relationship with the decision maker built on trust. It is very hard to support someone according to these principles if you also have an interest in the outcome of their decision. If you do have an interest in their decision the biggest difference you can make to them is by helping them find someone who doesn’t also have an interest in the decision they are making to become their decision supporter
Decision support is about enabling a person with a disability to approach decision making with the same expectations, freedoms and responsibilities as those who do not have a disability. This includes the right to take risks and learn from mistakes.
Before you learn more about using these principals it is important to think about your role as a supporter.