Planning and decisions about end of life
Planning and deciding about your end-of-life care is very important. This allows you to outline your wishes ahead of time. It is called ‘advance care planning’.
What is advance care planning?
- Advance care planning is discussing your end-of-life care with your family and healthcare professionals.
- It helps you document your wishes for your care when coming to end-of-life.
- It is important in case you lose your decision-making capacity.
- Capacity is deciding things that affect your daily life.
- If you have capacity, you can decide what is best for you.
What if someone doesn’t have capacity?
- If can’t make health decisions for yourself, someone else will be asked to do this.
- This person is called the ‘person responsible’.
- You can choose this person while you still have capacity by appointing an enduring guardian’.
- If you haven’t previously appointed an enduring guardian, your health practitioners will need to seek substitute consent from either your person responsible or from the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
- This person will then have authority to make health and lifestyle decisions for you.
Who can be my ‘person responsible’?
- You can only have one ‘person responsible’.
- Your treating healthcare professional is to assess whether you have a person responsible who can consent to medical treatment for you.
- If they can’t decide, they will refer it to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Person responsible for children
If you are a child, your person responsible is your parent or their spouse (if they are married).
Person responsible for adults
If you are an adult, your person responsible is (in priority order):
- a guardian you’ve permitted to make decisions about your healthcare
- your spouse (including a de-facto spouse)
- an unpaid carer who helps or previously helped you at home
- a relative or friend with a close personal relationship and interest in your welfare.
What is an advance care directive (ACD)?
- An ACD is a document that records your values and wishes for use at a time when you cannot make or communicate those decisions yourself.
- An ACD is also used to document the medical treatment you do not want to receive and the circumstances in which you refuse that treatment.
- Every adult with decision-making ability has the right to agree to or refuse medical treatment.
- Having an ACD in place allows you to communicate your wishes if you lose decision-making ability.
- Your ACD helps healthcare professionals know how to treat you and your wishes and preferences for your care.
- The ACD is only used if you can’t make decisions about your treatment (permanently or temporarily).
What do I do with my completed ACD?
- Keep the original with you in an easy-to-find place in your home.
- Give a copy to important people such as your family, doctor, and others involved in your care.
- If you have an enduring guardian, give them a copy.
- Register your ACD with the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
- If an ambulance is called, make this form immediately available to them.
- You can add your ACD to your My Health Record.
People who are important to you
- You can list people who are important to you to keep with your ACD.
- This helps people who support and care for you know who to contact if anything happens to you.
- You can also use this to identify who has a copy of your ACD.
- This is helpful to know if you choose to cancel or change your ACD.
Can I change or cancel my ACD?
- You can only change or cancel your ACD if you have decision-making ability.
- It is important to review your ACD, especially if your health or medical conditions change.
- You can change your ACD by completing a new one. Give a copy of your new ACD to the people, services or organisations you provided copies to.
- You can cancel your ACD if you no longer want one in place. You can do this by marking the ACD form and letting people, service and organisations know you no longer wish to have an ACD.