How should you prepare?
Advance Care Planning lets others know your future health and personal care preferences in the event you are incapable of communicating them. It’s also a time to reflect on your wishes and have a discussion with family, friends and whomever you appoint as your Substitute Decision Maker.
Wishes may be expressed in a document, recording, video, conversation or legal document, including Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Advance Directives. The plan is only used if you are unable to communicate your wishes and you are incapable of speaking for yourself or consenting to care.
What to know:
Substitute Decision Maker (SDM): A Substitute Decision Maker is a person appointed and authorized to make decisions for you if you are incapable of making them yourself. This person provides consent or refusal for treatments when a person is mentally incapable to make decisions about their treatment. Think about who would make decisions in your best interest.
Power of Attorney for Personal Care: This is a written document that appoints someone as SDM to make personal care decisions that include medical treatment, admission to care facilities and personal assistance. Find out more.
Capacity to Consent to Care: According to Ontario’s Health Consent Act, in order to have capacity to consent to care, you must understand the nature of the illness being treated, the nature and purpose of treatment and risks and benefits of not receiving treatment.
If you’re a caregiver:
If you are appointed as a SDM, make sure you have a copy of that person’s plan and you are willing and able to take on that role. If a SDM is not available, someone will be chosen through the hierarchy of Substitute Decision Makers in the Health Care Consent Act. If your care-recipient has not signed a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, a guardian, attorney, spouse, partner, child or relative may assume the role according to the hierarchy.
Tips for starting the conversation:
Today is National Advance Care Planning Day. Take the day to think about your plans and use it as a starting point to discuss your thoughts with your loved ones. Download and print a workbook and find more information on creating your care plan.
To learn more about the Caregiver Exchange, please visit www.caregiverexchange.ca