Advance Care Planning is about planning for your future health care and personal care.
It is a process where you decide what is important to you and discuss it with your health professionals and loved ones and you may also choose to write your wishes down. If there comes a time when you are too unwell to speak for yourself, your plan will help your loved ones, and the health professionals who are caring for you, to make the decisions that are right for you.
What can you do
There are three things that you can do...
You can sign a legal form stating who you have chosen to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do it for yourself. The person you choose should be someone you trust, who will listen carefully to your plans and goals for future health care, and will faithfully represent you. This is called an appointed Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
Chat and communicate
Talk with your family, friends and doctors about your goals, values and beliefs, and your health care preferences. Tell them what is important for you. Also, talk with your doctors or other health professionals to find out more about your illness and what might be ahead.
Put it on paper
If there is something you feel strongly about, you can write it in an Advance Care Directive that describes the type of treatment you would agree to, and what type of treatment you would not want.
The video above describes a family's journey through the advance care planning process and how it was important for them.
Advance statements for people living with mental illness
Under the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014, people living with mental illness are able to record their treatment preferences; in case they become unwell and need compulsory mental health treatment.
Advance statements have been developed to improve supported decision-making. A person can make an advance statement at any time if they understand what an advance statement is and the consequences of making one.
An authorised psychiatrist must have regard for a person’s advance statement when making a treatment decision.
The authorised psychiatrist may make a treatment decision that is not in accordance with the advance statement, if they are satisfied that the treatment specified in the advance statement is not clinically appropriate or is not treatment ordinarily provided by mental health services.
An advance statement only refers to mental health treatment, so Advance Care Planning for a person's current and future health care needs is also important.
You can find out more about Advance Care Planning at the following websites:
- Office of the Public Advocate
- Have the conversation - Better Health Channel - Advance Care Planning
- Dying to Talk discussion starter
- Advance Care Planning Australia
- My Values
How to access this service
Enquiries about Advance Care Planning can be directed to Consumer Liaison.
In a medical emergency, call 000. If you are feeling unwell, see your local GP or go to your local hospital Emergency department for help.