Decision-making about life-sustaining treatment by a person who has capacity (and can decide what treatment to accept or refuse) is less complex than for a person who has lost capacity (this is known as impaired capacity). Where a person has impaired capacity, a substitute decision-maker must ‘stand in the shoes’ of the person and try to make the decision about treatment the person would have made if they could do so themselves.
The following pages explore Australia's laws relating to:
- withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment from adults,
- substitute decision-making for adults,
- futile or non-beneficial treatment,
- emergency treatment, and
- children and end of life decision-making.