Advance Care Planning in the ACT
Who would you like to make medical decisions for you if there came a time when you could no longer speak for yourself?
In an emergency situation, an Advance Care Plan provides medical teams with the necessary information to make decisions that reflect what the patient wants, even if they can’t tell them at the time.
There are three ways your choices can be conveyed to health professionals through Advance Care Planning:
- Complete an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPoA).
- Complete a Statement of Choices.
- Complete a Health Direction under the Medical Treatment (Health Directions) Act 2006.
Having a Power of Attorney, completing a Statement of Choices and/or a Health Directive can help you to:
- Make your wishes known about the type of medical treatment you want if you can’t actively make decisions about your medical care.
- Protect your right to refuse unwanted medical treatment and to ensure you get suitable relief from pain and suffering.
ACT Health offers help with advance care planning that gives you a way to discuss, record, and document your health care wishes. It is designed for the ACT health and legal systems. You can find out more on the Canberra Health Services website and by contacting the Advance Care Planning Program, Quality and Safety Unit, 5124 9274 or [email protected]
Advance Care Planning Documents
Involving Others in Advance Care Planning
Partner, Family and Friends
You need to discuss your wishes for medical care with your family and other significant people in your life. It is important to ensure that these people clearly understand your wishes and any instructions you want to give.
If you do not discuss your medical treatment wishes with the important people in your life, they could well ask for care and treatment on your behalf without understanding the implications and that the treatment may be against your wishes.
Family doctors such as your general practitioner can play an important role in assisting with decisions about your medical care.
Help with Advance Care Planning
There are a range of services available in the ACT to help you with Advance Care Planning.
The Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA) has a range of resources to assist consumers with advance care planning. They can also provide an introduction to advance care planning information session for groups of people with chronic health conditions and their carers. If you are interested, please contact HCCA on 6230 7800 or by email.
You can get assistance with your Advance Care Planning and documentation by contacting the Canberra Health Services Advance Care Planning team on 5124 9274. They are available to talk to groups and individuals to explain and facilitate discussion around the importance of advance care planning for anyone over the age of 18 years. Facilitators can also help guide individuals through the process of completing your own Advance Care Plan and Enduring Power of Attorney.
The office of the Public Trustee and Guardian can provide information and assistance with Enduring Power of Attorney, as can your own solicitor. The ACT Public Advocate has developed a guide on completing a power of attorney in the ACT.
General practitioners can assist with decisions about your medical care.
The BeMyVoice website provides advice and guidance on advance care planning and includes consumer stories that might raise issues you haven’t thought of.
Advance Care Planning Australia have a lot of information and resources that are designed specifically for consumers and carers in the ACT. You can also speak to one of their consultants on the phone to help with your planning. Their contact number is 1300 208 582.