Substitute decision-making is a means of making health care decisions on behalf of people who are incapable of making these decisions for themselves. It is based on the ethical principle of respect for autonomy. Substitute decision-making poses two main questions: Who-should make the decision for the incapable person, and, How should the decision be made? Because the applicable statutory and common law varies across Canada, clinicians should become familiar with the legal requirements of their own province or territory.
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