Advance directives in Ireland (ARCHIVED)

by Dr Joan Cunningham


Published: March 2009


Please note: This module has now been archived. It is still available to view, but please be aware when completing the module that it was last updated in 2009. A CPD certificate is available for the module, but this will be subject to the approval of your peer group.  


If you are a consultant-level psychiatrist interested in updating this material, please contact us.


In recent decades, patient care has been revolutionised by developments in science and technology. The number of treatments now available means that there is an increased chance of recovery from illness as well as of staying alive. 


However, patients do not always wish to be treated in what the doctor considers the 'best way', or to have their lives prolonged artificially.


With competent patients, treatment is usually a matter of making a simple choice. But what happens when they lose capacity or are unable to communicate their treatment wishes? For this reason, many people choose to make an advance directive.


At present in Ireland, there is no specific legislation with regard to advance directives, although in recent years several organisations have reviewed the subject. 


In this module, we will examine the current practice when a patient lacks the capacity to participate in healthcare decision-making. We will also look at the recommendations that have been made by the relevant medical and legal bodies.


Start the module


If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Competence, capacity and decision-making ability in mental disorder by Dr Justine McCulloch and Dr Mark Taylor


Dementia: capacity, empowerment and conflicts of interest by Professor Cornelius Katona and Dr Gill Livingston


Irish Mental Health Act 2001 by Dr Larkin Feeney and Dr Brendan Kelly


Psychiatric aspects of end-of-life care by Dr Christian Hosker and Dr Wendy Neil


Download take-home notes to print and annotate


Download take-home notes to print and annotate

NB: This module covers advance decisions in Ireland only. For England and Wales, please see the module Advance decisions in psychiatry: England and Wales.


© 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists