If a person lacks capacity and requires emergency treatment in hospital to save their life, a health professional or aged care worker must arrange to transfer them to hospital for treatment
No. A person is able (when they have capacity) to refuse treatment, including life-sustaining treatment, even if it will result in their death. A person is also able to refuse to go to hospital if they do not want to receive treatment.
If a person lacks capacity, a decision about transfer will depend on:
- whether the person’s preferences about hospital transfer or treatment are known (e.g. documented in an Advance Care Directive, or previously stated), or
- if they have a substitute decision-maker, the decision of that person.
The law in Victoria is different. There, consent is not required to transfer a person to hospital in an emergency.
If the person who lacks capacity has previously decided they do not want to receive treatment, their decision should be respected.
If it is not possible to obtain consent to treatment from either a person or their substitute decision-maker, the law allows emergency treatment to be given to save the person’s life, prevent serious damage to health, or prevent significant pain and distress. In this case a hospital transfer may occur if it is necessary to enable the person to receive treatment (so long as they haven’t previously refused being transferred to hospital).