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Power of Attorney for Personal Care

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What if I do not have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

If you have not made a Power of Attorney for Personal Care and you become mentally incapable of making personal care decisions, the Health Care Consent Act allows other substitute decision-makers to make some of these decisions. These include decisions about health treatment, admission to a long-term care facility, and personal assistance services such as bathing. The other substitute decision-makers are usually family members.

For example, if you become mentally incapable of making a decision about surgery, your doctor must get your substitute decision-maker's consent before proceeding. If you do not have an Attorney for Personal Care or a Guardian of the Person or they are not available, your doctor must try to get consent from one of the following:

  • Your "representative". A representative is someone appointed by the Consent and Capacity Board to make decisions about your treatment, admission to a long-term care facility, or personal assistance services in a long-term care facility. Anyone, including your family or friends, can apply to become your representative, or you can apply to have someone appointed.
  • Your spouse or partner.
  • Your child if they are at least 16 years of age.
  • Your parent.
  • Your brother or sister.
  • Any other relative.
  • The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

Your doctor must start with the first person on this list. If there is no such person or if this person is not able, willing, and available to make the decision on your behalf, your doctor must ask the next person on the list.

So if you do not want this list to determine who will be your substitute decision-maker, make a Power of Attorney for Personal Care to name the person you prefer.