What does an attorney for personal care do?

2. Learn about the person’s wishes

The person may have expressed their wishes about personal care decisions before they became . If they did, you must follow their wishes when possible if they apply to a decision you have to make.

The person's wishes can include things like:

  • staying in their own home as long as possible
  • respecting their religion when choosing food
  • letting doctors use artificial life support if they have an illness that they'll die from

The person can put their wishes in their or in a separate document. Or, they might tell you about their wishes or make a recording.

Wishes about health care are often called advance care plans because the person expresses them before decisions need to be made.

If you think the person would have changed their wishes

You might think that the person would change their wishes if:

  • they were still mentally capableand
  • they knew the health conditions they have now and the most current treatment options.

If you think that the person would feel differently now, you can apply to the Consent and Capacity Board. The Board can make an order that lets you decide something that goes against the person's wishes. You have to convince the Board that the person would probably change their mind if they were still .

If you decide that one of the person's wishes is impossible to follow, you can make a decision you think is in their best interests. You don't have to get the Consent and Capacity Board to approve this.

For example, the person may have said that they don't want to move into a long-term care home. But they now need care and supervision 24 hours a day. They'll likely have to move into a long-term care home unless:

  • they have family members or friends willing to care for them, or
  • enough money to hire someone to live with them and provide that care.

Or, the person may have wanted to move into a specific care home but it's closed or cannot take them. If this happens, you should try to find another place that offers a similar level of care.

If the person did not express any wishes

If the person did not express any wishes or you don't know of any, you must make decisions based on what you think is best for them. This means you must:

  • Consider the person's religious, moral, or personal values and beliefs. For example, if they would refuse a blood transfusion because of their religious beliefs, it's important that you think about this when making a decision about medical treatment.
  • Consider the benefits and risks of any decision you make. Will a treatment, type of care, or action improve their quality of life or help them to not feel worse? You must decide if the benefit to the person is greater than any risk.
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