- Terminal: resulting in death—the patient can reasonably be expected to die within the next twelve months, and this prognosis has been confirmed by a second medical practitioner.
- Incurable: no known cure.
- Irreversible: unable to be turned around—there is no possibility that the patient will recover. An example of an irreversible illness is Motor Neurone Disease, which progressively paralyses the body.
- Permanent unconsciousness (coma): when brain damage is so severe that there is little or no possibility that the patient will regain consciousness.
- Persistent vegetative state: severe and irreversible brain damage, but vital functions of the body continue (e.g. heart beat and breathing).
- Palliative care: treatment that is not aimed at a cure but at caring for the patient by keeping him/her as physically comfortable and pain-free as possible, while also attending to his/her emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs.
Definitions provided by the Qld Department of Justice as found in http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/15982/advance-health-directive.pdf