Using Supported Decision Making with your Doctor: Frequently Asked Questions for Persons with Disabilities

Using Supported Decision Making with your Doctor: Frequently Asked Questions for Persons with Disabilities

Plain Language

What is Supported Decision Making?

Supported decision making is a way to help you make decisions. People who do not have a guardian or conservator often use supported decision making to make their own choices.

How Does Supported Decision Making Work?

If you need help making some decisions, you can pick a person you trust to help you. This person can be a member of your family you trust. It can also be a good friend that you trust. This person is called a supporter. You can have more than one supporter.

Sometimes you may need to write down what you decide your supporter will help you with. This is called a supported decision making agreement.

Can I use my supporter when I go to see a doctor?

If you need to see a doctor or nurse, your supporter can go with you to the doctor.

  • The supporter can help you decide about going to see the doctor.
  • The supporter can help you remember your heath symptoms.
  • The supporter can help you know what a doctor or nurse says.
  • The supporter can help you decide about ways to help you get well.
  • The supporter can help you tell the doctor or nurse what you choose.
  • The supporter can help remind you to take any medicines.
  • The supporter can help you know how to complete forms at the doctor’s office.

Do I make the decision about my care to help me get better?

Yes. You make the choices about your medical care when you are sick. Your supporter does not make the decision. The supporter is there to help you make the decision.

How does supported decision making work at the doctor’s office?

You should tell the nurse or doctor that you have a supporter who will help you. If you want, your supporter can be in the room when you see the doctor or nurse. The doctor or nurse should talk to you and not your supporter. You can ask the doctor or nurse to talk to your supporter if you want. The doctor or nurse should give you time to talk with your supporter and make a decision about your medical care.

This Frequently Asked Questions is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing any legal advice for any planning, claim, case, or any other matter. If you have legal questions about supported decisions making, you should contact an attorney in your State.

This Frequently Asked Questions was developed with funds from the WITH Foundation.

The contents do not necessarily represent the official views of the WITH Foundation.

Visit SDMmedicalcare.org for additional resources.