Capacity assessment for personal directives - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Capacity assessment for personal directives

Before your agent can make personal decisions for you, a capacity assessment will determine if you are able to make them yourself.

Show Answer What is a capacity assessment?

A capacity assessment is completed if there is reason to believe you no longer have the ability to make your own decisions. It looks at whether you can understand:

  • the facts you should consider when making a decision
  • what could happen if you choose one option over another

Just because someone disagrees with a decision you make, it does not mean you have lost the ability to make your own decisions. If you fully understand the impact of a decision, you are probably capable of making it.

For example, you could decide not to take medication recommended by your doctor. If you understand why the medication is important and what will happen if you don’t take it, you are probably capable of making this decision yourself.

Show Answer Who can do a capacity assessment?

For a personal directive, 2 people must do a capacity assessment. Together, they decide whether you have the ability to make your own decisions. One of them must be a physician or psychologist.

There are 2 ways a capacity assessment can be done, depending on the instructions in your personal directive:

  1. If you listed someone to decide if you have lost your capacity to make decisions, this person does an assessment. Most people choose a family member or a friend. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your agent.

    A physician or psychologist also does an assessment.

    If they conclude that you aren’t able to make personal decisions, they sign this form:

  2. If you didn’t list someone to decide and you have lost your capacity to make decisions, then 2 service providers (e.g. a doctor, a nurse, the manager of a care facility, a social worker, etc.) each do an assessment. At least one must be a physician or psychologist.

    If they conclude that you aren’t able to make personal decisions, they sign this form:

Please note that the capacity assessment process is different for personal directives than it is for guardianship, trusteeship and co-decision-making.

Show Answer What if you get better and want to make your own decisions?

Sometimes people recover from brain injuries or illness and can make their own decisions again.

If that happens, you should have another capacity assessment. You'll need one of the forms below, depending on your situation.

For more details, see:

Created:
Modified: 2015-10-14
PID: 17770

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