Advance Care Directives

An Advance Care Directive (ACD) is a way of letting your loved ones and health professionals know about your wishes for medical treatment when you are so seriously ill that you can’t communicate those wishes any more.

An ACD is valid if it was made at a time when the person making the ACD had capacity, it sets out clear and specific details about the treatments you would accept or refuse and it applies to the situation that you are in at the time. The “capacity” of a person refers to a person’s ability to make decisions.

The matters that may be included in the ACD are details of what is important to you, such as your values, life goals and preferred outcomes and the treatment and care you would like or would refuse if you have a life-threatening illness or injury.

An example about personal values about dying could be that you would like to pass away at home or in a hospital or other location such as a hospice or residential aged care. Some concerns that you may want considered are that you do not want to struggle to breathe or do not want to be in pain or that you would like music to be played or flowers in your room.

There is no prescribed form for an Advance Care Directive (ACD).

However, NSW Health has developed a form that may be accessed from Health NSW. This form sets out some health matters to consider such as if you could no longer eat or drink without the assistance of feeding or intravenous tubes or if you couldn’t understand what people are saying or if you could no longer recognise family or loved ones. In those circumstances, you could elect for treatment to be discontinued and be allowed to die a natural death.

Whereas an ACD is a document setting out details of your preferred medical treatment, an Appointment of Enduring Guardian is a legal document that appoints a person (or more than one person) to be your guardian and to make decisions about your health and lifestyle but only when you are in need of a guardian.

Be sure to contact the team at Conditsis Lawyers to demystify the process of estate planning.

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