Being A Substitute Decision Maker
You may be asked to help with decision-making for a patient in hospital who is considered mentally incapable to make care or treatment decisions.
In general, people who are capable of understanding and communicating their care wishes are supported to make their own decisions about their health care. It is the right of a mentally capable person to direct health care choices for him/herself.
In most cases, a Substitute Decision-Maker (also known as an “SDM”), is needed only when a person is mentally incapable. However, there are situations in which a person who is mentally capable requests that a family member receive all health information and assist in making treatment decisions.