Advance Care Planning is a process by which you reflect upon and document your personal values and preferences, to be used as a guide to your future health care in the event that you become unable to speak for yourself. It is about taking control of your health care wishes now and into the future.
Should you become seriously ill and not able to make or communicate your own decisions then an Advance Care Plan sets out your needs and wishes into the future. Your Advance Care Plan remains in force until it is required, if ever. Dying with Dignity NSW recommends that you make a plan while you are well, or in the early stage of dementia.
The most important steps to follow in Advance Care Planning are:
• discussing your health care wishes with your family, close friends and your doctor.
• thinking about what treatments you would want to have, and which you would refuse.
• writing down your wishes.
• choosing a trusted person to make health decisions for you if you are unable to do so.
Is an Advance Care Plan legally binding?
The nomination of an Enduring Guardian is legally binding under The NSW Guardianship Act 1987.
Unlike much of Australia, NSW does not have a specific statute governing Advance Care Directives, but they are legally binding under common law (as confirmed by NSW Supreme Court in 2009), provided the person is mentally competent at the time of completing their directive and it has been made free from coercion.
The legally binding effect of an Advance Care Directive is confined to refusals of treatment. A demand or request in an Advance Care Directive for a particular form of treatment does not mean the health care provider is legally obliged to provide it, but it may be considered as indicating your consent to the treatment. In addition, the preferences you make in your Advance Care Directive are likely to be taken into account by anyone concerned with promoting your best interests at a time when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Please be aware that Advance Care Planning does not enable you to access treatments which are against the law at the time and place of your treatment. Voluntary Assisted Dying is currently against the law throughout Australia, but Dying with Dignity NSW hopes that this will not always be the case.
How do I complete an Advance Care Plan?
Dying with Dignity NSW have prepared a guide to help you understand what you need to know about the planning process, choosing the right form for you and advice on how to go about completing the forms.
It also includes a section of “Things to discuss with my family and friends before completing an Advance Care Directive”
Click here to download the Guide to Advance Care Planning in NSW
Which forms do I use?
‘The Appointment of Enduring Guardian’ form is a standard legal document available from the NSW government. In NSW there is no prescribed Advance Care Directive. Dying with Dignity NSW has chosen one Advance Care Directive that we believe is a good balance between requirements. This form was created by Colleen Cartwright and is legally robust and widely endorsed by health professionals.
Dying with Dignity NSW provides a set of printed Advance Care Planning forms to all new members. The set consists of three printed documents – our Guide to Advance Care Planning in NSW, an Advance Care Directive for NSW and the ‘NSW Appointment of Enduring Guardian’ form. Subsequent forms can be purchased for $20 per set (to cover our costs of printing and postage).
Click here to purchase a set of printed forms posted to you CLICK HERE
We have also provided links to the three forms below for you to download for free and print at home
- Guide to Advance Care Planning in NSW
- NSW Advance Care Directive (Prof. Collen Cartwright Version)
- NSW Guardianship Tribunal Appointment of Enduring Guardian Form 2013.
Dying with Dignity NSW has compiled a list of resources to enable you to get more information about Advance Care Planning (if you wish). See the reference list on page 7 and 8 of our Guide to Advance Care Planning in NSW