Patient Care Directives

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We respect our patients’ right to make informed decisions about their health care and treatment options. You are encouraged to discuss your wishes with your health care provider and your family.


Personal Directives

A Personal Directive allows you to set out how personal care decisions, including health care decisions, are to be made for you when you are not mentally capable of making those decisions. It is only in effect when you are alive and mentally incapable of speaking for yourself.

In Nova Scotia, you can set out how personal care decisions are to be made for you through a personal Directive.  Personal care decisions relate to such things as medical treatment, health care, residence and support services. They do NOT include financial matters.

We all make decisions on a daily basis— about our family, our work and our personal life. We often take the ability to make our own choices for granted.

But what if you were in a car accident and unconscious for a week? What if you suffered a permanent brain injury? What if you were in a coma and not expected to regain consciousness? What if you slowly lost your capability to make decisions because of Alzheimer’s disease?

What would your wishes be for personal care? Who would you want to make decisions for you?

These are important decisions for you to consider TODAY. Talk to the people you trust—your family, friends, health care providers or spiritual advisor. Talking about these issues may not be easy. Yet, it gives you greater control over your future personal care, and can ease stress for your loved ones, knowing the decisions made on your behalf are what you want.

For more information about Personal Directives including sample forms, visit the Government website: or call 1-800-670-4357


Advanced Directives

If you have an advanced directive such as a living will, please bring it with you (these are the only important papers you should bring to the hospital). An advanced directive can be a “living will”, and/or a document appointing someone to make decisions on your behalf if necessary. This document must be signed by you, and witnessed by someone other than the person you have chosen to make decisions for you. Staff members are not permitted to act as witnesses.


Organ Donation

South Shore Health has taken a lead role in supporting organ and tissue donation in Nova Scotia by:

  • raising awareness about the value of donation and
  • providing professional education related to donation and end-of-life care.

We believe every family deserves the opportunity to grant a loved ones wish to be an organ and tissue donor.

If you are considering becoming an organ or tissue donor, or have already signed your organ donor card, you are encouraged to discuss your wishes with your family to ensure your wishes are granted.


Code Status

During your admission or hospital stay, you may be asked to think about your code status. This will help ensure we know what types of life saving measures you want us to use if your breathing or heart stops while you are a patient. You are encouraged to discuss your wishes with your doctors and your next of kin.

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