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Personal directives - An introduction

A personal directive enables you to appoint a decision maker and/or provide written instructions to be followed about your health care and personal care if you should become unable to do so due to physical or mental reasons. It lets your family know what your wishes are and removes the burden of making difficult health care decisions. This eases their stress during what is likely a difficult time.

Health care: Outlines the medical methods and procedures that you would approve or not approve in the event of certain medical situations.

Personal care: Addresses those aspects of daily life that are necessary to maintain your health and well-being, such as shelter, nutrition, hygiene, clothing and safety.

Anyone over the age of 18 can complete a personal directive.

Common elements include:

  • The medical treatments you would or would not want
  • Where you would like to live (e.g., at home for as long as possible or a suitable care facility)
  • Who you would like to live with
  • Who you want to care for and educate your minor children while you are unable to do so
  • Who should take care of non-financial legal matters (e.g., release of medical information)
  • How personal activities (recreation, employment, education) should be handled

You can prepare your own personal directive or get professional assistance. The form and directions are available on the Alberta Government website.

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