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Advance Care Directive – Part 1

On 12 March 2018 the laws in relation to Medical Powers of Attorney changed. To help you understand the changes, we will be writing a 3 part article series - welcome to Part 1!

The main changes to the legislation were:advance care directive appointment of medical treatment decision maker

  1. They are no longer referred to as Medical Powers of Attorney but instead Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
  2. There is now a legally binding document called Advance Care Directive.

The Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker (AMTDM) is the document under which you can appoint a person to make medical decisions on your behalf when you no longer have the capacity to make those decisions on your own.

The Advance Care Directive goes side by side with the AMTDM, the purpose of this document is to outline your wishes to your chosen medical decision maker. These wishes can include a variety of things, which include things such as:

  • Whether you would like artificial feeding;
  • Whether you wish to be connected to a ventilation machine;
  • If you are nearing death, who you would like to be informed and who you would like for to be present.

Prior to the March changes, an Advance Care Directive was not a binding document, so there was no real way for your loved ones to ensure your wishes were enforced. You could tell your medical decision maker what your wishes are but a lot of people find peace in being able to write down their medical treatment wishes.

What can I include in an Advance Care Directive?

In an Advance Care Directive you can include either or both:

  • An instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future medical treatment you consent to or refuse; and/or
  • A values directive which documents your values and preferences for your medical treatment decision maker to consider when making decisions for you.

At Legal Essentials we can assist you in thinking about these decisions and provide you with a list of items to sit down and talk to your doctor about. Once you have identified what kind of wishes you would like included in the Advance Care Directive we can then draw it up for you. Our costs for drafting an Advance Care Directive and other documents can all be view on our Prices page.