Renae Diggles

December 17, 2020

Why You Should Have an Advance Health Directive (AHD)

Renae Diggles

December 17, 2020

Advance care planning is the process of planning your future care. In the planning process, you’ll voice and document your values, beliefs and preferences for current and future care planning. Usually, you’ll discuss this with your doctor, loved ones and lawyers. Whether it’s an Advance Health Directive, and Enduring Power of Attorney, or both, you’ll feel empowered by putting this planning into place.

Who Requires Advance Care Planning?

It’s never too early to start planning for the future. While you’re able to to make your own decisions, it’s a good idea to get your affairs in order. It’s especially important for people who have a chronic health condition, or who have a poor prognosis. It’s also important for people to plan their future care if they’re at risk of dementia or disease that impacts on cognitive function.

key with health tag

What Are the Key Parts to Advance Care Planning?

Firstly, advance care planning is not a one-off, done deal. Planning for your future care needs will evolve and change over time. You can always update these legally binding documents along the way.

Although it varies from state to state, advance care planning typically includes an Advance Health Directive / Advance Care Directive, and an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) The Advance Health Directive (AHD) and the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) documents are often completed simultaneously.

Storing your Advance Health Directive

In order for people to know that you have an EPOA or advanced care directive, you’ll need to share it. Give copies to close friends, family members, and your lawyers. You can also upload the advance care planning documents to “My Health Record.” That way it will be available to your treating doctors at anytime that they may need to access it.

The Law and Advance Care Planning

In Australia, each state and territory has laws that allow you to appoint a decision-maker in the case that you lose the ability to do so.

The names of advance care directive documents vary from state to state. Each state and territory also has variations as to what can be included in the documents. These documents help in the decision-making process for your care when you’re unable to make the decisions on your own. 

An Advanced Health Directive (AHD) is a formal, legal document that includes instructions regarding your current and future health care choices. It’s meant to be followed when you’re unable to make healthcare decisions alone. Items that are often included summarise what health care you want to receive. This can be in broad terms or with greater detail.  The directive might also include information about pre-existing health conditions, and allergies that you have. You could also include your religious and cultural beliefs that could affect the decision-making process surrounding your health care.

For further information on advance care planning, speak with a solicitor or take a look at Advance Care Planning Australia.

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