What would happen if you became very sick or had a serious accident and could not talk to your doctor or family about your treatment or make decisions for yourself? Who would make medical decisions for you and how would they know what you want?
It is good to think about your future health care needs and to discuss these with your family, friends and doctors; this process is called advance care planning.
If a time comes when you are unable to make your own decisions, someone else will be asked to make decisions on your behalf. You can choose who that person is, and you can help that person to represent you by telling them what is important to you. There are several documents that can be completed as a result of advance care planning:
Ideally, advance care planning should start in the community, for example with your General Practitioner. It is also important to discuss your thoughts and decisions with family members, carers and close friends so that they understand your wishes.
Distribute copies of your Advance Care Directive to the hospital/s you attend, your GP, your family and your appointed Medical Treatment Decision Maker, and keep a copy at home in an easily accessible place known to your family and/or Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
You can update your Advance Care Directive at any time and it is recommended that you review it whenever your personal or medical circumstances change. If you make changes, it is a good idea to destroy all copies of your prior Directive and redistribute copies of your updated Directive.
For more information about advance care planning, consult your General Practitioner, your medical specialist, or consider the following documents:
For more information, visit advancecareplanning.org.au.