7. What an advance decision cannot do
There are some limits to the kinds of treatments and situations an advance decision covers. It cannot be used to:
- refuse treatment if you still have the capacity to give or refuse consent
- refuse basic care that is essential to keep you comfortable, such as washing or bathing
- refuse food or drink by mouth (although it can be used to refuse feeding by tube)
- refuse the use of measures designed solely to maintain comfort – for example, painkillers (which relieve pain but do not treat the underlying condition)
- demand specific treatment
- refuse treatment for a mental disorder in the event that you are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.
- request something that is against the law, such as euthanasia or assisting you in taking your own life.