The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta has published a Practice Guideline: LPN Role in Bringing a Personal Directive into Effect. LPNs are most likely to become aware of a client’s personal directive when providing nursing care in home care, supportive living or long-term care settings; although, they may see personal directives in all practice settings. In these situations, an LPN may be asked to complete a capacity assessment by their employer.
The Personal Directives Act includes Schedules that outline the steps and considerations that need to be followed. The Practice Guideline “LPN Role in Bringing a Personal Directive into Effect” provides a summary of the Schedules and identifies the duties and obligations of an LPN involved in bringing a personal directive into effect.
A personal directive comes into effect if the person (the maker) is found to lack the capacity to make their own personal care decisions. LPNs are competent to conduct capacity assessments under the Personal Directives Act; however, LPNs cannot make capacity assessments under the Adult Guardian and Trusteeship Act.
If the personal directive does not designate a specific person (ie. a trusted family member) to determine capacity, then two service providers may make this determination. One of the service providers must be a physician or a psychologist and the other service provider may be an LPN. The LPN may also be involved in determining and documenting when a maker has regained the capacity to make decisions about personal matters.
LPNs are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the practice guideline, or contact a Practice Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org, 780-484-8886 or 1-800-661-5877 (toll free in Alberta) with further questions.