Supported Decision Making

Supported Decision Making

Making Decisions with Help from Others (Supported Decision-Making)

Most people seek help from families, friends and professionals when we make major decisions about our lives.

Supported decision-making assists people with cognitive impairment to make decisions about their day-to-day lives, such as decisions about their healthcare, housing and finances.

Supported decision-making is the formal and informal support given to people who might have problems making decisions due to a cognitive impairment. Supported decision-making enables people to exercise self-determination and their human rights as citizens.

It has the potential to improve mental health and wellbeing and support recovery.

The laws in Queensland recognise a person’s right to make their own decisions and encourages supported decision-making.


Spectrum of Support and the Least Restrictive Way

Supported decision-making requires flexibility in meeting people where they are at, and therefore requires a fluctuating level of input. Therefore, supported decision-making must operate on a spectrum.

Reference: ADACAS NEAC 2019

Working with others on a fluctuating spectrum empowers the person to be supported in the least restrictive way.

To understand how to make decisions to support people in this way, refer to the Resource section on this page: Least Restrictive Way Flowchart – Queensland Health

Support Networks and Supported Decision Making

Understanding a person’s support network is an important part of knowing how to apply appropriate supported decision-making practices. Reference: ADACAS NEAC 2019 

Rights of family, carers, and other support persons

Qld Health Factsheets and Forms: Video – Rights of Family carers and Support people:

Supporting Financial Decisions

The Supporting Financial Decisions videos below help educate people with cognitive impairment or intellectual disability, their supporters and networks about:
  • The rights of individuals who need support
  • The responsibilities of financial supporters
  • Real stories of people who have become more financially independent
  • How to find services that develop money skills
These short video resources offer those living with intellectual disability and their supporters a way to help learn about rights and the responsibilities involved in supported decision-making processes. These resources can help start conversations about rights an inclusion in decision-making.

The Stories

Click on each picture below to watch the video

Claire’s and Michael’s Stories – This video offers real world examples of people living with financial independence despite their intellectual disability. It shows the journey of Claire, Michael, and their supporters on their financial capability journeys.

Jessies Story - Low Res

Jessie’s Story – Jessie’s story portrays a situation where Jessie has her mum as her informal financial supporter, and together, they grow her financial capability.

Li's Story - Low Res

Li’s Story – In Li’s story, he had the unfortunate experience of being taken advantage of by others financially. A Tribunal then appoints a financial decision maker for Li, and we follow his journey of increased financial capability as he develops his money skills.

The direct You Tube links for the Supporting Financial Decisions videos are below: For more information on this project / Reference:  ADA Australia

Supported Decision-Making (Office of Public Guardian Policy)

We believe all of our clients can live full lives, often contributing and realising potential that others may never have imagined. Therefore, all our decisions aim to reflect this. We do not believe that a declaration of impaired decision-making capacity by a Tribunal (which may attract the Public Guardian’s appointment) means that an adult cannot meaningfully contribute to decisions made about them.

That’s why we operate from a framework of supported decision making for everything we do. This means “the process of assisting a person to make their own decisions, so they can develop and pursue their own goals, make choices about their life and exercise some control over the things that are important to them”. This approach to decision-making attempts to affirm the adult’s right to be in charge of their own life.” (Definition courtesy of NSW Department of Family & Community Services).

Supported Decision-making as an approach to guardianship has its foundation in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Its core principles are that:
  1. Every person can express their will and preference
  2. A person with disability has the right to make decisions
  3. A person with disability can expect to have access to appropriate support to make decisions

Structured Decision-Making

Information on the position of the Public Guardian when making decisions as guardian or attorney for adults with impaired capacity. This prioritises and promotes a least restrictive decision-making model within guardianship. View the Structured Decision-Making framework.

Reference and for more information go to:

Other Supported Decision-Making Resources


Least Restrictive Way Flowchart - Queensland Health (pdf)
Practical tools for lawyers – Steps in Supported Decision making (pdf link)
Supported decision making and individual advocacy as tools to assist older persons experiencing elder abuse (pdf)

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