Advance Care Planning (ACP) involves a person considering and planning for future care. ACP guides decision-making when the person can no longer speak for themselves. It can involve the development of a formal document, an Advance Care Directive (ACD or AD).
Aims of ACP:
- To provide guidance for decision-making when a person cannot speak for themselves.
- To designate a substitute decision-maker (SDM).
- To complete a written document commonly referred to as an ACD. This document legally recognises the instructions of a competent adult to identify someone whom they trust to speak on their behalf in the future if they cannot make their choices known and/or record instructions about their preferences for future healthcare and lifestyle choices.
ACP is an ongoing process requiring continued review of:
- Goals of care and preferences for medical treatment.
- Changes occurring in the older person’s overall health or lifestyle situation.
- Recognition that plans may vary depending on whether the person is healthy, has mild to moderate chronic illness or is likely to die in the next 6 months.
- Compliance by doctors and family members with the person’s values and wishes.
- Likelihood the person will die in their preferred place.
- The older person and their family’s satisfaction with care.
- Family preparedness for what to expect during the dying process.
- Quality of death as reported by relatives.
ACP - State and Territory Information
It is important to understand and be familiar with the legal responsibilities and implications in your jurisdiction(s).
If the issues are complex or if you would like more information about ACP matters, the Advance Care Planning Australia Advisory Service
is available for telephone enquiries.
Page updated 22 February 2022