Most people are unaware of the rules for making substitute healthcare decisions for their incapable loved ones. The possibility that medical resources such as ventilators may be limited due to COVID-19 cases can only add to the stress and burden of substitute decision-making. Quarantine restrictions in health facilities have left substitute decisions makers (SDMs) without in-person access to the patients they are supposed to be making decisions about. All of this is occurring in circumstances where health workers need to obtain decisions about treatment faster than ever.
Health Care is within provincial jurisdiction but none of Ontario’s emergency orders, to date, have modified the laws for making substitute decisions. What follows is a brief outline of the rules: