A Personal Care Directive allows you to appoint a person (called an agent) to make decisions regarding your body and your health care in the event of your incapacity. An Enduring Power of Attorney is restricted to your estate or financial affairs and cannot be used for personal or medical decisions
Without a Personal Care Directive, someone (not always your choice) will have to make a time-consuming and expensive court application in order to look after you. Your Personal Care Directive allows you to make the choice and lessen the burden on your family at an already difficult time.
Without a Personal Care Directive your physician cannot turn to any specific person for advice and direction. They will consult family members and then take the course of action they deem appropriate. This may not accord with your personal wishes. As well, various family members may have different views which only complicates matters even further.
A Personal Care Directive removes the conflict and uncertainty. You can direct who is responsible for making decisions. Your physician must follow the directions of the appointed person. This will provide your family members and the medical caregivers with clarity and certainty.
The legislation in Alberta states that any Personal Care Directive or Living Will prepared before December 1, 1997 are not valid. We can help you prepare a new valid Personal Care Directive.
In your Personal Care Directive you can provide directions to your agent regarding your healthcare should you become very ill. This can include directions that you do not want your life prolonged by artificial means if you are in a persistent vegetative state or coma. This will give your family the reassurance they need to act on your behalf and carry out your wishes.
On the contrary, you can also specify that you do want all steps taken to prolong your life with the hope of eventual recovery. Or you can leave out this section entirely and rely on your previous verbal statements to family members.
Your agent will typically have a wide range of power and responsibility to act on your behalf and make decisions that affect your life. Since the Directive is only effective when you lack capacity to make decisions on your own, you will not be in a position to monitor or supervise the actions of your agent.
The powers and responsibilities of your agent include the ability to decide where you should live, what health care you require and your participation in social, recreational, educational and employment activities.
Your agent can control your contact with friends and family. For example, they have the ability to inform staff at a nursing home that certain people are prohibited from visiting with you.
Talk to us about preparing your Personal Care Directive. We can answer any questions you might have. In most cases, we can meet with you, answer your questions, take your instructions, prepare the documents and meet with you to sign the documents in one visit to our office. Where circumstances warrant we will attend at your residence or health care facility to complete these documents. There is an extra fee for this additional service.