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Advanced Care Planning

What is it?

Advanced care planning is a process that involves considering and communicating your wishes regarding future or present health treatments in case you become incapable of making your own decisions.

Who should do it?

It is never too early to start communicating your wishes.  All capable adults are advised to start their advance care planning.

What does it involve?

  • Choose a Substitute Decision Maker - a person who is legally capable of making health care decisions on your behalf when you are incapable of doing so yourself.

    • The Health Care Consent Act provides hierarchical and automatic (i.e., you don’t have to do anything) Substitute Decision Makers.  See the below illustration.  

    • If you wish to choose a different person, or more than one person, to be your Substitute Decision Maker, you can prepare a document called Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC).

  • Start the conversation surrounding your health preferences with your Substitute Decision Maker and loved ones.  Make sure your Substitute Decision Maker and loved ones are able to adhere to your preferences, even if they don’t agree, and are up to making difficult decisions in stressful situations.​​

    • After your Substitute Decision Maker accepts his or her role, start the conversation about your values and beliefs.

    • Inform your Substitute Decision Maker about how you’d like to be cared for in case of a medical crisis.

    • Inform your healthcare provider of your decisions.

speak up.jpg

For more information,

please visit the

Speak Up Ontario website.

Understanding the Difference Between a

Substitute Decision Maker and a Power of Attorney

Both a Substitute Decision Maker and a Power of Attorney can make healthcare decisions on behalf of patients who are incapable of doing so themselves.  However, most people have a default Substitute Decision Make (hierarchical and automatic Substitute Decision Makers).  When a person wants to choose his/ her Substitute Decision Maker, it is called a Power of Attorney.  Appointing a Power of Attorney allows you to clearly communicate your wishes to your chosen Substitute Decision Makers.

Substitute Decision Maker Form & Wallet Card

Click here to print this document.

For more information about determining a substitute decision maker, click here.

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