Advance Health Directives in aged care

An Advance Health Directive is a document that states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for medical conditions. It comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill.

An Advance Health Directive:
• Outlines what medical treatment or health care you want if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. It can be general (e.g. that you wish to receive all available treatment) or specific (e.g. that you wish to decline a certain medical treatment);
• Enables you to appoint an attorney for health and personal matters;
• Includes information that health professionals should know, including health conditions, allergies, and religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your care.

Specific instructions
In your advance health directive, you can give specific instructions about certain medical treatments – whether you want to receive life-sustaining measures such as tube feeding or  resuscitation to prolong your life. You can also outline the quality of life that would be acceptable to you.

Who can make a directive and when
You can make an Advance Health Directive if you are over 18 and have the capacity to do so. The best time to make a directive is before any urgent health condition arises.

How to make an Advance Health Directive
Before completing the document, carefully reflect on the decisions you have to make. Consider what is important to you and discuss these matters with your family or close friends.
You can print and complete the advance health directive form or buy one from a newsagency or other private businesses across the state (e.g. bookshops and stationers).
A doctor will need to complete part of the Advance Health Directive form, so you can ask them to explain your options and unfamiliar terms. The doctor may charge a consultation fee for completing a directive.
You’ll also need a witness who is a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations, lawyer or notary public.

We ask that clients who have an Advance Health Directive to inform Jubilee Community Care to ensure your wishes are documented on your care plan. If, as your service provider, we are unaware of your wishes we will follow basic requirements to act and assist you as a reasonable person would in an emergency situation.

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