In South Australia you can record your choices for future medical care by completing an Advance Care Directive.
In your Advance Care Directive, you can:
- write instructional directives with legally binding instructions about future medical treatment you refuse
- write instructional directives about medical treatment you consent to (these are not legally binding)
- write a values directive which documents your values and preferences for your substitute decision-maker to consider when making decisions for you
- appoint a substitute decision-maker
Medical treatment includes treatment for physical and mental conditions.
In your Advance Care Directive, you can give specific instructions about certain medical treatments.
For example, you might ask that life-prolonging treatment – such as tube feeding or resuscitation – be withheld or withdrawn if you have:
- a terminal illness with no known cure or chance of recovery
- severe and irreversible brain damage, and you can’t communicate
- a severe illness or injury that you’ll probably never recover from
Appointing a substitute decision-maker
When you appoint a substitute decision-maker, you are choosing a trusted relative or friend to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so in the future.
You may want to appoint one or more adults to this role. To do this you need to complete the Advance Care Directive form. The form has specific requirements for completion and witnessing. Your chosen substitute decision-maker must accept this role by signing the form.
Your substitute decision-maker can consent to or refuse treatment on your behalf. They must act in accordance with any lawful conditions contained in the form. They must make the decision they believe you would make if you could make your own decision. For this reason, it is helpful to talk to them about what is important to you and any preferences you have.
If you do not appoint a substitute decision-maker yourself, one may be:
- appointed for you by a guardianship tribunal
- identified for you by a default list under legislation
Completing your Advance Care Directive
There are two ways to complete an Advance Care Directive:
The online form includes helpful tips and suggested statements that you may want to use. When you have finished you will need to print the form, sign it and have it witnessed before it will be legally valid. A copy will also be emailed to you directly as soon as you save the completed form.
The downloadable form also contains detailed instructions. Once you have filled out and signed the form, you will need to have it witnessed before it will be legally valid.
Download an Advance Care Directive form