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Advanced Care Planning: Directive

Advanced care planning, is smart thinking because it plans for your future if you become unable to communicate your wishes.

The formal document for advanced care planning is otherwise known as a Living Will, Advanced Care Directive, or Advanced Care Plan.

It is important to think about the “what if’s” of your medical treatment under a hypothetical situation of terminal, incurable and irreversible illness, whilst you are healthy.  Specifically, you need to think about the kinds of medical treatment you would like to receive, or abstain from when you are no longer able to make the decision yourself.

It’s hard to think about, but it is important. One of the biggest sources of anxiety for family is the way a person is treated medically at the end of their life.

For example, in your old age at 90 you may slip and fall and need a hip replacement. Do you really want a hip replacement at aged 90?  Most medical professionals will state that if your hip is not replaced you will be in pain, and probably confined to your bed and bed susceptible to bed sores and muscle waste which may lead to early death. However, it is a MAJOR operation and you may never be the same again. It’s up to you to decide what the best scenario for you is.


Lacking a coherent view of how people might live successfully all the way to their very end, we have allowed our fates to be controlled by the imperatives of medicine, technology, and strangers.

Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal



This rap video is the best thing I have ever seen. It captures precisely the reasons why we need to talk about this now. It’s taken from

In addition I highly recommend you read my blog on this here or just watch this video right now.

“To Die Well” by Sidney Wanzer, M.D and Jospeh Glenmullen, M.D is a fantastic guide to understanding in details your rights and options.

advanced care planning

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State Laws for Advanced Care Planning:

Each state of Australia has different requirements for the documentation, as well as different laws.  Make sure you are aware of the requirements of your own state.  If you live in a regional or rural area, and the nearest major hospital is interstate, you will need to be aware of the regulations of the state in which you will be treated in.

A copy of your Advanced Care Plan should be filed with your will, and a copy given to your legal representative and power of attorney, and doctor(s). 

You should also provide a copy of your advanced care plan to your family members so that they understand your wishes, as it will be them who liaise with your medical team.

Should you be hospitalized, placed in a nursing home or a hospice, that this advanced care document is placed with your medical chart.

Your family or person responsible for dealing with your health must continually ensure that medical staff respects your wishes. It is not that they are not intelligent; with the ever-increasing demands on medical staff, they will act in accordance with routine. Sometimes this routine may unconsciously act conversely to your wishes.  

It is also wise to carry a card in your wallet that states you have an advanced care directive, and where it can be located.

Helpful websites:

Helpful Australian websites for advanced care planning include:

Further reading:

Essential Oils to help you at the end of life: