Advance Care Planning

Have your say now...because one day someone else may have to make medical decisions for you. 

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning is the process of developing future plans for your health and personal care that respects your values, beliefs and preferences. 

Advance care planning involves discussion with health professionals, family and friends, and could include a written advance care directive.

You can request a free advance care planning email starter pack or call the National Advisory Service for free advance care planning advice on 1300 208 582 (9am-5pm, (Monday to Friday AEST).

Fast facts

  • Almost 50% of people will not be able to make their own end‐of‐life medical decisions
  • Less than 15% of Australians have documented their preferences in an Advance Care  Directive
  • A third of Australians will die before the age of 75
  • Most people die after a chronic illness, not a sudden event

Research shows that advance care planning can reduce anxiety and stress experienced by families and that they’re more likely to be satisfied with their loved one’s care.

What is an Advance Care Directive?

This is a planning document written by a person with capacity that is authorised by common law or by legislation (laws vary across Australia). In NSW, advance care directives are recognised at common law. The NSW Guardianship Act 1987 provides substitute decision makers through the 'person responsible' hierarchy and allows appointed Enduring Guardians to consent to end of life decisions. 

An advance care directive can either:

1. Record a person's values, life goals and preferred outcomes, or directions about medical treatment and care (an instructional directive); or

2. Formally appoint a substitute decision maker (Enduring Guardian); or

3. Do both of these things. 

How do I start my own Advance Care Planning? 

Start by having a conversation with your GP. This may not be easy to do, but it's better to plan for the end, and then live for now. 

There are a number of resources that can assist you: 

End of Life Care