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What is a co-decision making order?

On October 30, 2009, the Alberta Government passed the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA). This act replaced the antiquated Dependent Adult Act. The AGTA provides decision-making options for health care providers, physicians, patients and their families to use to ensure that they have consent for health care. With the creation of the AGTA, the Alberta Government regulated the use of new forms. 

The AGTA also brought in the concept of Co-Decision making. Co-Decision making is a less intrusive means then full guardianship and applies when an adult needs formalized support but still has some capacity to participate in decision-making. These orders come into play if an adult is assessed as having a significant impairment but can make decisions about personal matters with assistance. To obtain this order, the assisted adult must consent to the co-decision-making order. This option works well for people with long-standing, trusting relationships. 

The adult and the co-decision maker must work cooperatively through the decision-making process, and the co-decision-maker cannot unilaterally make decisions on behalf of the adult. Both the adult and the co-decision -maker are required to provide consent. 

If a patient has a co-decision-maker but is unable to provide informed consent (for example because of a stroke or coma), the co-decision-maker cannot make the decision alone. Further assistance would be required. This could be found from a personal care directive or a guardian. If this lack of capacity will continue long-term, then a guardianship application would be required. 

A co-decision making order is just one of the many options that the AGTA provides for adults who need assistance or requires a substitute for personal or financial decisions. If you need help choosing the appropriate option for your family or friends call Estate Connection to discuss your options. Remember..we are here to help!

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