Our Advance Care Planning service can assist patients with making plans for their future now in case they are not able to make decisions for themselves later on.
We have many resources available for patients to help you understand the process of advance care planning as well as information that is available in languages other than English.
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning is defined as a "process of planning for future health and personal care whereby the person's values, beliefs and preferences are made known so that they can guide decision making at a future time when that person cannot make or communicate his or her decisions" (The Clinical, Technical and Ethical Principal Committee of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (CTEPC), September 2011. A National Framework for Advance Care Directives.)
It is a process of patients deciding what is important to them and writing it down. This helps ensure that if patients are too unwell to speak for themselves, their loved ones and health professionals will be able to make decisions that are right for the patient.
There are three aspects to advance care planning:
- Appoint another person. Patients can choose to appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker. Any previously appointed Medical Enduring Power of Attorney will continue as the appointed Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
- Communication between the person, their Medical Treatment Decision Maker, family, and their health care team regarding their plans for future care.
- Documentation of a person's wishes for future care, via an Advance Care Directive. Documentation of values, beliefs and preferences can provide clarity to the treating medical team.
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.
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