Your Advance Care Directive can only be used if you are unable to make your own decisions, whether temporarily or permanently. To be more specific, though it might come into force as soon as it is signed and witnessed, Substitute Decision Makers or Health Practitioner can’t use this form when you still have enough decision-making capacity. The SDM does NOT get continuing authority to make decisions for the patient after the patient becomes capable even if the SDM has made decisions for the patient during a temporary period of incapacity. In case the patient becomes incapable again for health decisions, then the SDM may act again.
What is regarded as impaired decision-making capacity?
You are considered to have impaired decision-making capacity in respect of a particular decision if you can’t:
– understand information about the decision
– understand and appreciate the risks and benefits of the choices
– remember the information for a short time; and
– communicate in any manner what the decision is and why you have made the decision.