ACP for Adults Who Are Not Mentally Capable

Although people who lack mental capacity cannot make their healthcare decisions or express capable wishes for future care, ACP is still very helpful in preparing the SDM for future healthcare decisions especially when those adults have chronic health issues.

The substitute-decision maker will make healthcare decisions and provide consent on behalf of incapable adults. But incapable adults should still be involved in discussion about their healthcare as much as their mental capacity permits. Advance Care Planning for incapable adults involves:

  1. Identification of the substitute decision-maker
  2. SDM learns about the person’s health conditions
  3. SDM thinks about the person’s values, beliefs and best interests that may be helpful for future decision-making

Priya has advanced dementia. Her three daughters are her SDMs. ACP for Priya will involve her daughters learning about dementia and what to expect for their mom in the future. They will reflect on who she is as a person and what is important to her.