Prepare for Decision Making

We encourage you to discuss your preference for personal care, medical treatment, health-care services and financial matters with your family. We also recommend you complete a Power of Attorney and an advance health care directive (AHCD) before your admission to a personal care home or long-term care (LTC) facility.

What you can expect

When you move into your LTC facility, someone from the health-care team will meet with you or your substitute decision maker to discuss your health-care goals, wishes, and values and your thoughts on resuscitation (CPR). You will have the opportunity to complete an AHCD.

If you already have an AHCD, it will be used to guide the advance care planning discussion. Please bring a copy of your directive on admission day so that it can be kept with your medical chart. Your AHCD will be reviewed with you once a year, if your health changes, or at your request.

For more information about AHCD or naming a substitute decision maker, you may contact your social worker or legal counsel. If you require health-care related information to help with making a decision, you may speak with other members of the health-care team such as a physician, nurse practitioner, or registered nurse.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a written legal document that names the person you wish to act for you in relation to financial matters. An enduring Power of Attorney is required if you become mentally incapacitated. We recommend that you to see a lawyer to discuss your wishes regarding your financial matters. For more information on Power of Attorney, please see Seniors and The Law (PDF).

What is an advance health care directive (AHCD)?

An AHCD is a written statement of your health-care wishes and/or who you name as your substitute decision maker. It is only used when you are unable to communicate these wishes for yourself.

Who is a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM)?

A substitute decision maker is the person who will speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself.  A substitute decision maker should know your wishes, values and goals of care. They are the person you trust to ensure your wishes are followed. If you do not name a substitute decision maker and are no longer able to tell us your wishes, your substitute decision maker will be decided using the Province’s Advance Health Care Directive Legislation.

Advance Care Planning

The process of advance care planning begins when you move into your LTC facility, and can be reviewed at any point during your stay. It is a voluntary process of deciding and communicating your current and future health-care goals, wishes and values. This information will be used to make plans for your care. You, or your substitute decision maker, are the centre of all advance care planning discussions.

If you or your substitute decision maker choose not to participate in AHCD or advance care planning discussions, we will document this in your chart. We will check back with you during your stay to see if you now wish to complete these discussions.

If you choose not to participate in AHCD or advance care planning discussions, please be aware that attempts will be made to resuscitate you in the event of an emergency. This means if you are not breathing and do not have a pulse, CPR will be started and an ambulance will be called. If you do not wish to complete an AHCD, but do not wish to receive CPR, you can ask your doctor to write those instructions in your chart.


For more information, please see Frequently Asked Questions.

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Last updated: 2020-11-10