Supported Decision Making

Supporting the person: it is their decision and their right to make the is your role to help and support them in whatever way they need to facilitate them to make their decision

Sage Advocacy – Supported Decision Making

Supporting Decision-Making Capacity

In circumstances where a person may be finding it difficult to exercise their decision-making capacity they are entitled to support to help them make their own decisions. The type of support should be tailored to the person’s own circumstances, communication means and to the specific decision. There is a responsibility to ensure the person is provided with all reasonable supports to help make choices and decisions about matters that affect them.

Supporting decision making includes providing relevant information and available options explained in a way the person can understand, working to the person’s pace and giving the person enough time to understand and consider their options. It may include the use of communication aids, getting support from other people, using other professions and expertise, and engaging an advocate. 

The Guiding Principles of the ADM (Capacity) Act 2015 creates the right for a person whose capacity may be in question to be supported to make their own decisions, and there is a obligation to fulfill this right. A person ‘shall not be considered as unable to make a decision in respect of the matter concerned unless all practicable steps have been taken, without success, to help him or her to do so.’

Sage Advocacy has developed the ALERT System and a guide to Supporting Decision Making. The guides can be used in practice when supporting autonomy and decision-making capacity. 

ALERT - Supporting Decision Making



“What is your understanding of […..the decision…..]”



Pay attention to words, feelings, body language



Explain everything, including all the choices, in a way that the person can understand. Consider asking someone else to help, such as a key worker or an advocate.



Go through all of the possible choices and consequences, paraphrase, reflect back, summarise, and check understanding and retention.



“Tell me about your decision; Why is the choice important for you; How did you make this decision?”

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