Your substitute decision maker (SDM) will only make healthcare decisions for you when you are not capable of making them yourself. By law, your SDM is your closest living relative(s) by blood or marriage, unless someone else has been legally appointed. If you choose to appoint an attorney for personal care, this person is your SDM.
You will be asked for your SDM contact information each time you come to the hospital.
The chart below shows the order of SDMs in Ontario, with legally appointed SDMs at the top, followed by automatic family member SDMs. A legally appointed SDM has authority over automatic family SDMs. If you do not have anyone else to make healthcare decisions for you when you are not capable to make them yourself, the Public Guardian and Trustee will make them for you.
Appointing an Attorney for Personal Care
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give a trusted person or persons the right to make decisions for you if you become incapable of making them yourself. There are many reasons why people choose to appoint an attorney for personal care. For instance:
- You want to ensure that a specific person, or people, acts as your SDM
- You have multiple children or siblings, and prefer that only one or a few act as your SDM
- You want to choose someone other than a relative to be your SDM
- You want to choose a specific order or appoint a backup SDM
For more information, please see our brochure: My Substitute Decision-Maker
For more information on Powers of Attorney, please visit the Ministry of the Attorney General website.