An Advance Care Directive is a legal form used to record your wishes and instructions for:
- Future health care
- Preferred living arrangements, residential and accommodation
- Life sustaining treatment
- Palliative Care, Comfort Care, End of life
- Personal decisions
You can also appoint one or more adults to make decisions for you. These are known as “substitute decision makers”. However, you can choose to document your wishes without appointing a substitute decision maker.
You can make an Advance Care Directive only while you have LEGAL CAPACITY, i.e. while you are “competent”.
To be “competent” you must understand:
- what an Advance Care Directive is; and
- the consequences of giving an Advance Care Directive.
If there is a question about your competence, you may need an opinion from your doctor.
If you do not have an Advance Care Directive and you become unable to make decisions at a later stage in your life, your loved ones may need to seek an order from the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).
An Advance Care Directive is effective as soon as it is witnessed, BUT can only be used by a health practitioner or substitute decision maker if at the relevant time, you have “impaired decision making capacity” (i.e. you are not competent to make decisions).
An Advance Care Directive provision which states a refusal of particular health care (whether express or implied) is a binding provision. All other provisions of an Advance Care Directive are non-binding provisions.
An Advance Care Directive DOES NOT cover financial matters – (you will need an “Enduring Power of Attorney” for financial matters)