Supported decision making is a framework within which a person with a disability (called the Principal) can appoint trusted individuals who can assist the Principal to make decisions. The person(s) appointed are referred to as the ‘decision supporter’. The format is not unlike Enduring Power of Attorney appointments, with the main difference being that the decision supporter(s) are not substituted decision makers but rather support the Principal to make their own decisions. The philosophy is to support vulnerable people to participate in life with the greatest autonomy and dignity that is possible.

In Victoria there are 3 legally recognised roles:

SUPPORTIVE ATTORNEY (under the Powers of Attorney Act 2014)

A Supportive Attorney is appointed to support the person with disability to make and act on their decisions. This support may be to:

  • access or provide information about them from or to organisations;
  • communicate with organisations; and
  • communicate their decisions.

A Supportive Attorney document can be useful where a person requires support with any legal matter relating to the Principal’s financial or property affairs and any legal matter relating to the Principal’s personal and lifestyle affairs (but not including medical affairs).

MEDICAL SUPPORT PERSON (under the Medical Treatment Planning & Decisions Act 2016)

A Medical Support Person is appointed to support the person with disability to make, communicate and act on their medical treatment decisions. The Medical Support Person does not have the authority to make a person’s medical treatment decisions unless they are also appointed as their Medical Treatment Decision Maker.

NOMINATED PERSON (under the Mental Health Act 2014)

A Nominated Person is appointed to support and represent the Principal’s interests in the event that they become a patient under the Mental Health Act 2014. Their role is to:

  • provide support and help represent their interests;
  • receive information about the patient in accordance with the Act;
  • be one of the people who must be consulted in accordance with the Act about the patient’s treatment;
  • assist the patient to exercise any right they have under the Act; and
  • to undertake the role until the nomination is withdrawn by the appointor.


For a more detailed explanation of Supported Decision Making, you can purchase our 30 minute webinar by clicking this link: