All adults should have the right to make their own decisions. This includes people with disabilities, who should be supported to make decisions that relate to their life and wellbeing.
Some laws define who is legally able to consent to medical treatment on behalf of someone with a disability, should the person with a disability be unable to make reasonable judgements. However, the legal system is complex, and there is no consistent standard across New Zealand that mediates decision-making in health care.
The Health & Disability Commission has published some general information about capacity and consent.
It is important that anyone living with a disability, or cares for someone who does, understands the importance of person-centred care, self-advocacy and ways of exercising it, as well as community inclusion and legal rights. There is more information about this topic in the Advocacy and Inclusion section of our website.