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Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Medical Decision-Making Capacity


Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Medical Decision-Making Capacity

University of Arizona College of Medicine
Michelle Rhodes, MD, Monica Vandivort, MD, Paul Gee, MD
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
Geriatric Education Center (GEC)
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

Medical Decision-Making Capacity is one of a continuing series of practical, evidence based, Provider Fact Sheets which summarize key geriatric topics and provide clinically useful assessments and interventions. Initially developed for remote, rural clinical sites, they are useful for students and health care professionals from many fields and across a very broad range of health care settings.

Educational objectives: 
  1. Explain the difference between “capacity” and “competence.”
  2. Make a determination medical decision making capacity with a formal assessment tool.
  3. Explain why poor performance on a mental status examination does not necessarily indicate lack of decision-making capacity.
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Subscribers to POGOe are free to reprint Elder Care on their own stationery or in other publications without obtaining specific permission, so long as:

  1. Content is not changed,
  2. No one is charged a fee to use or read the publication,
  3. Authors and their affiliated institutions are noted without change, and
  4. The reprint includes the following statement: “Reprinted courtesy of the Arizona Reynolds Program of Applied Geriatrics and the Arizona Geriatric Education Center."
Estimated time to complete: 
30 minutes
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
Already Expired Email Date: 
Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 12:47am
Already Expired Email 1 month date: 
Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 4:46pm
Expires 6mos Email Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 4:05pm
Expired Email Date: 
Wednesday, February 2, 2022 - 10:32pm
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Suggested Citation:
Elder Care A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Medical Decision-Making Capacity. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2015 Available from: