What is an Advance Care Directive?

An advance care directive (sometimes referred to as ACD) is a document in a form prescribed by the government which enables you to express your wishes on a range of matters and, if you like (and we encourage this) appoint a “substitute decision maker” (SDM) to have a lawful authority to carry out those wishes. It replaces the Enduring Power of Guardianship (EPOG) document* under which a guardian (now called a ‘substitute decision maker’) could be appointed, but offered limited opportunity to express wishes about life and care priorities to provide guidance on those matters to the appointed guardian.

The advance care directive form asks a range of questions including:

  • when decisions are being made for me, I want people to consider the following;
  • outcomes of care I wish to avoid (what I don’t want to happen to me)
  • healthcare I prefer

and also provides the opportunity to make a “binding refusal” in relation to particular types of care (for example, intubation or resuscitation if there is no reasonable prospect of recovery).

*Note: EPOG documents remain valid if fully signed (ie by the person making the appointment and by the guardian/s) before 11 December 2014.

How to prepare and Advance Care Directive

To help you prepare a legally binding Advance Care Directive we have developed an on-line tool called acdAssist to guide you through the process.  This tool guides you through the questions that you need to consider in order to create your ACD.  This means you can think about your answers in your own time, reflect on your wishes and talk to your family and friends before meeting with our lawyers to finalise the document.  To find out more about this service click here