All patients should be given information and education about advance care planning.
Advance care planning can be carried out informally or formally. Most jurisdictions in Australia make provisions to automatically appoint an authority to make health care decisions on the individual’s behalf in the event of an adult’s ability to make decisions being permanently or temporarily impaired. The law varies between jurisdictions on who can be given this authority and the decisions that can be made. Formal advance care planning consists of the patient formally writing down his or her wishes in a legal document such as an Advance Health Directive and/or appointing someone to make decisions in an Enduring Power of Attorney or equivalent.
An Advance Health Directive should be reviewed at least every 2 years or when there is a major change in the individual’s health status. For further information see the Advance Care Planning website and information on Respecting Patient Choices, or contact the Department of Justice or Public Trustee within your State or Territory (see also advancecareplanning.org.au/contacts-and-links).
If a legal document is completed, advise individuals of the importance of keeping the documents in a safe place. Certified copies should be provided to the individual’s doctor, attorney for personal and health matters, family members, friends and the hospital where they receive treatment.