Advance Care Planning

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning is a process to help you plan your medical care in advance so if you become too unwell to make decisions for yourself, your wishes can still be respected by your health care team, your family and carers.

How can Advance Care Planning help you?

Imagine you became very sick and couldn’t talk to your doctor or family about your treatment.

Your plan will help them decide what the best option will be based on your choices. 

Planning ahead can make things easier for you and the people you care about.

Advance Care Planning can involve the following steps:

Appointing a substitute decision maker (Medical Enduring Power of Attorney)

This is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, but only if you are not able to make or communicate decisions for yourself.

When selecting someone to be your Medical Enduring Power of Attorney, it is important to choose someone 18 years or older, whom you trust, who knows you well, who is willing to respect your views and values, who will be a good advocate for you and who is able to make decisions under circumstances that may be difficult or stressful. It is important that the person you select agrees to act as your substitute decision maker and that you tell them your preferences regarding future medical treatment.
 A. Appoint a substitute decision maker

a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney for medical treatment decisions

Chat and Communicate

Think about your beliefs, values and what quality of life means to you. Talk to your family, friends and doctor about your preferences for health care in the future. Talk about future situations that you would find unacceptable or too burdensome in relation to your healthcare.
 C. Chat and communicate

talk to your family, friends and doctors about your healthcare preferences

Put it on Paper

Advance Care Directive (ACD)

You may choose to record your wishes regarding future medical treatments and lifestyle preferences in an Advance Care Directive. An Advance Care Directive enables you to write down your thoughts about what quality of life means to you and circumstances where you would prefer comfort measures over active medical treatment. It is important to discuss your wishes with your medical enduring power of attorney, family and doctor.

The Advance Care Directive is designed to guide your substitute decision maker, your family and your doctors in making medical treatment decisions if you can no longer do so for yourself.

Refusal of Treatment Certificate (RTC)

In Victoria, if you have a current medical condition, you may legally refuse treatment that you would not want in advance by completing a refusal of treatment certificate. A RTC enables you to refuse some or all current and future treatments for your current condition, except palliative care (relief of pain and suffering). If you become unable to make your own decisions and you have appointed a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney, then this person is able to complete a Refusal of Treatment Certificate on your behalf.

Your Doctor will have a conversation with you about your reasons for wanting to refuse treatment and they will need to sign the form.
 P. Put it on Paper…Write down your preferences

If we know your choices we can respect them.

Think about:

  • Who you trust to make decisions about your medical treatment?
  • What you value in life?
  • What would be an acceptable recovery from illness for you?
  • What you would want if you were permanently unable to feed yourself, talk to or recognise your family and friends?

It is a good idea to do Advance Care Planning when your health is stable.

This gives you time to talk to your family and friends about your preferences.

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Getting Started

If you want further information about end of life decision making, talk to your doctor or other treating health professionals or visit Advance Care Planning Australia website at http://advancecareplanning.org.au/

Start your own Advance Care Plan by visiting the MyValues website at https://www.myvalues.org.au/#create-profile

OR

Alternatively you can contact Allied Health reception on 5551 8349 for further information.

For more information please phone: 5551 8349

Download Advanced Care Planning Brochure

An example

John was 40 when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He and his wife Helen decided that they wanted him to be cared for, and to die at their home. They discussed this wish with their doctor, who explained what they could expect from the final stages of John’s illness and the round-the-clock care he would need. The doctor helped them to complete an Advance Care Plan. When John was in the last week of life he became confused and was unable to make his own decisions. His Advance Care Plan made it easier for those looking after him to follow his wishes. Helen arranged for family members to come to their home to help care for John with regular visits from the local Palliative Care team and support from other Community Care services. He was able to die at home as he had wished.

Adapted from:
Palliative Care Australia - http://palliativecare.org.au/advance-care-planning/
Australian Government Department of Health - http://www.health.gov.au/
Alfredhealth - www.alfredhealth.org.au/Page.aspx?ID=489

Advance Care Planning in Victoria
Advance Care Planning Information Sheet
AlfredHealth - Advance Care Planning
MyValues - Your voice when you can't speak for yourself
Take control - Office of the Public Advocate

For more information please phone: 5551 8349

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Appointing a substitute decision maker (Medical Enduring Power of Attorney)

This is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, but only if you are not able to make or communicate decisions for yourself.

When selecting someone to be your Medical Enduring Power of Attorney, it is important to choose someone 18 years or older, whom you trust, who knows you well, who is willing to respect your views and values, who will be a good advocate for you and who is able to make decisions under circumstances that may be difficult or stressful. It is important that the person you select agrees to act as your substitute decision maker and that you tell them your preferences regarding future medical treatment.

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Chat and Communicate

Think about your beliefs, values and what quality of life means to you. Talk to your family, friends and doctor about your preferences for health care in the future. Talk about future situations that you would find unacceptable or too burdensome in relation to your healthcare.

↑ Top 

Put it on Paper

Advance Care Directive (ACD)
You may choose to record your wishes regarding future medical treatments and lifestyle preferences in an Advance Care Directive. An Advance Care Directive enables you to write down your thoughts about what quality of life means to you and circumstances where you would prefer comfort measures over active medical treatment. It is important to discuss your wishes with your medical enduring power of attorney, family and doctor.

The Advance Care Directive is designed to guide your substitute decision maker, your family and your doctors in making medical treatment decisions if you can no longer do so for yourself.

Refusal of Treatment Certificate (RTC)

In Victoria, if you have a current medical condition, you may legally refuse treatment that you would not want in advance by completing a refusal of treatment certificate. A RTC enables you to refuse some or all current and future treatments for your current condition, except palliative care (relief of pain and suffering). If you become unable to make your own decisions and you have appointed a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney, then this person is able to complete a Refusal of Treatment Certificate on your behalf.

Your Doctor will have a conversation with you about your reasons for wanting to refuse treatment and they will need to sign the form.

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Last updated: 27 May 2016