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Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is a process that helps you to plan for future medical care. This process involves thinking about your values, beliefs and your wishes about what medical care you would like to have if you cannot make your own decisions.

An important part of the planning process is to discuss your wishes with your family and other people who are close to you, as well as talking to your General Practitioner or other health professionals about any medical conditions you have.

You may also choose to write down your wishes in an Advance Care Directive, which outlines your specific treatment wishes.

As part of the Advance Care Planning process, you may decide to write an Advance Care Directive. An Advance Care Directive records your specific wishes about treatment that you would like to have in the event of life-threatening illness or injury, and any treatments you would refuse.

There is no specific form to use for an Advance Care Directive. There are some template Advance Care Directive forms. You can use any of these examples, or simply write a letter or statement about your wishes. It is a good idea to discuss your wishes and treatment options with your treating doctor. You can request that your Enduring Guardian refer to your Advance Care Plan or Directive before making any medical or health decisions. No one can override your Advance Care Directive, not even your legally appointed guardian.

Your treating doctor will consider your Advance Care Directive to be valid if:
  • you had capacity when you wrote it and you made it voluntarily
  • it has clear and specific details about treatments that you would accept or refuse
  • it is current and extends to the circumstances at hand.

    Your Advance Care Directive does not need to be witnessed, but it is a good idea to do so. There are no prescribed witnesses for Advance Care Directives.

    Doctors and health care professionals will only refer to your Advance Care Directive if you are unable to make your own decisions.

    You should keep your Advance Care Directive in a place that is easily accessible for you or for others to obtain if needed. Keeping a copy close to you (such as in your wallet) is sometimes suggested. You should also give a copy of your Advance Care Directive to your Person Responsible, doctor, health care facility, family members or other important people in your life. Remember to give updated copies to these people whenever you change your Advance Care Directive.

    More information from advancecareplanning.org.au

    Please ask our doctors if you would like to discuss or obtain a Advance Care Directive.

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