Appoint someone you trust to be your
medical advocate

When will my PD come into effect?

Your PD will state who must sign a Certificate of Incapacity to bring your PD into effect. Most people require some combination of their Agent plus one or two doctors. Your Agent cannot make personal decisions on your behalf unless and until you have been certified as being incapable of making such decisions yourself. In other words, your PD will not come into effect until a Certificate of Incapacity form has been signed.

How will my Agent make decisions?

Your Agent must consult with you to the extent possible when making personal decisions on your behalf. Obviously, the extent of the consultation will depend on your medical condition. Your Agent must follow any clear instructions you put in your PD. If your PD doesn't cover a situation, your Agent must make the decision they believe you would make in the circumstances, based on their knowledge about your wishes, beliefs and values and the available medical information.

Can I change my mind?

Yes, you can revoke or replace your Personal Directive at any time, as long as you have capacity.

What if I recover the capacity to make personal decisions?

If you recover your capacity, your PD will no longer be in effect and you will be able to make your own personal decisions.

What is the Personal Directives Registry?

The Alberta Public Guardian and Trustee office maintains a registry where you can record contact information for yourself and your Agent. In an emergency, health care professionals can access the registry so they can contact your Agent. Click here for more information about the Personal Directives Registry.

What is a Personal Directive ("PD")?

Your Personal Directive is a document in which you name someone you trust to be your Agent, with the power to make medical and other personal decisions on your behalf if and when you become incapable of making the decisions yourself. At Turning Point Law, we will guide you through a confidential discussion of the issues involved in making your Personal Directive, then draft an individualized document with language we developed in consultation with medical professionals.

What can my Agent do after I lose capacity?

Your Agent can speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself, access information from medical and other caregivers and make decisions on your behalf, based on your values and wishes, including decisions about your health care, where and who you live with, who can visit you, your participation in social, educational and employment activities and all other non-financial legal matters. Decisions made by your Agent will have the same legal effect as if you made them yourself.

Can my Agent make end-of-life decisions?

Yes, you can give your Agent the authority to reduce the intensity of medical intervention and withhold or withdraw treatment to allow your life to come to its end if there is no medical expectation that you will recover. However, your Agent cannot consent to medically assisted death, even if your Personal Directive gives this power. Turning Point Law will help you to articulate your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions. For example, you may not want medical interventions that only prolong your life without improving your quality of life, or you may want to require your Agent to consult with someone (for example, your children) while making an end-of-life decision.

Are there limits on the decisions my Agent can make?

Yes. Your Agent cannot consent to medical assistance in dying. As well, your Agent cannot consent to pychosurgery, sterilization that is not medically necessary to protect your health, removal of tissue for transplant, medical education or research, or research or experimentation with little or no potential benefit to you. You can put additional limits on your Agent's decision-making authority.

What characteristics should I look for in my Agent?

Your Agent should be a person who

  • is willing to do the job
  • is trustworthy
  • has the right knowledge and skills
  • will respect your beliefs, values and wishes will bs
* * will respect your beliefs, values and wishes * will be a strong advocate * will be able to resist pressure * has minimal conflict of interest

Should I tell my Agent that I have appointed them?

Yes, you should tell your Agent that they have been appointed and talk to them about your beliefs, values and wishes, especially around end-of-life decisions. You should also let them know where you keep your PD, or, better still, give them a copy.

Where should I keep my Personal Directive?

You should keep your Personal Directive somewhere where it will be easily accessable in the event of a medical emergency. You don't want to keep it in a safe deposit box at the bank. You should also take it with you when you travel. Finally, you should give your family doctor a copy for their records.

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Sherwood Park, AB  T8A 6A2

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