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Advanced Care Planning

What is Advanced Care Planning? 

Advanced Care Planning (ACP) is about making choices now, while you are still capable, about how you want to be cared for in the future if you become incapable of making decisions. 

Why is ACP important?

ACP helps patients receive the care they want. It is helpful in clarifying the roles of Substitute Decision Makers (SDM) and those with Power Of Attorney (POA). ACP means that everyone understands the wishes of the patient, and reduces moral distress for families facing uncertainty.

How are these wishes communicated?

Patients can express their wishes verbally, through audio or video, or  in writing.   

Are all choices final?

No. Patients can change their minds at any point. The most recently expressed capable wish will be the one that is followed.

Can a family member create an advance directive or living will for the patient?

No, only the patient can create a living will. If the family creates a living will for the patient, it will not be valid.

Is there a difference between an advanced directive, a living will and a power of attorney for personal care?

No, these are all wishes expressed by the patient. It is the role of the SDM to follow these wishes.

When does an advanced care planning choice come into effect?

As soon as a patient is incapable and is unable to express their own wishes. 

Is everyone required to follow the wishes of the patient?

Yes. If there were previous wishes made when the patient was capable, then substitute decision makers must follow these wishes. 

Does everyone need to do advanced care planning?

Patients are not required to complete advanced care planning, but it is recommended. The advantage in doing so is that patients who have a particular wish about their future care can make sure that their wishes are carried out.  

**There is no minimum age of consent in Ontario, therefore if an individual has been determined capable, they can consent or refuse to consent to any treatment or care options.**

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