This month new laws were passed in Victoria which legalise advance care directives under the “The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act”. I highly recommend that my clients and any elderly person take advantage of this new legislation, as it will give them peace of mind should they need health intervention at a time when they are unable to give the decision for treatment themselves.
Under the Act Victorians can:
- Create a legally binding advance care directive where they can specify treatment they consent to or refuse.
- Also create a values directive where they state the values they hold that may affect medical treatment, for example, religious views.
- Also appoint a medical treatment decision maker, a trusted person who can make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to make decisions, adhering to the values stated in the values directive.
- To help a person make decisions they can also appoint a support person who can assist by gathering and interpreting information and help in communicating decisions.
The advance care directive and values directive are to be made whilst the person is able to make decisions and requires two witnesses, one of which must be a medical practitioner. A person cannot refuse palliative care as part of an instructional directive but can include statements about palliative care in their values directive, such as it is more important for them to remain lucid than completely pain-free at the end of their life. A treating physician must adhere to the advance care directive or gain a decision from the appointed medical treatment decision maker prior to treatment if their patient is unable to make decisions. This applies whether it is a temporary situation or permanent. There are some extenuating circumstances, such as an emergency, where this may not be required.
More information is available here.
You can read more about my services as an Aged Care Placement Specialist on my website.