The Development and Implementation of a Decision-Making Capacity Assessment Model

Jasneet Parmar, Suzette Bremault-Phillips, Lesley Charles



Decision-making capacity assessment (DMCA) is an issue of increasing importance for older adults. Current challenges need to be explored, and potential processes and strategies considered in order to address issues of DMCA in a more coordinated manner.


An iterative process was used to address issues related to DMCA. This began with recognition of challenges associated with capacity assessments (CAs) by staff at Covenant Health (CH). Review of the literature, as well as discussions with and a survey of staff at three CH sites, resulted in determination of issues related to DMCA. Development of a DMCA Model and demonstration of its feasibility followed.


A process was proposed with front-end screening/problemsolving, a well-defined standard assessment, and definition of team member roles. A Capacity Assessment Care Map was formulated based on the process. Documentation was developed consisting of a Capacity Assessment Process Worksheet, Capacity Interview Worksheet, and a brochure. Interactive workshops were delivered to familiarize staff with the DMCA Model. A successful demonstration project led to implementation across all sites in the Capital Health region, and eventual provincial endorsement.


Concerns identified in the survey and in the literature regarding CA were addressed through the holistic interdisciplinary approach offered by the DMCA Model.


capacity; competency; decision-making; adult cognition; cognitive decline; older adults; autonomy; capacity assessment; model; guardianship

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)