Advance Care Planning

This Help page contains information on:

 

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is a process to help you to think about, and make plans for, your future care.

If you were not able to communicate to your doctor, due to an illness or injury, having a document that records your health care wishes, or someone who can make decisions on your behalf, can assist your treating healthcare providers know of your wishes.

For example, if you were unconscious and taken to hospital, the doctors could look at your advance care planning documents to find out who you want to make decisions for you. While you are unable to communicate, the doctors would ask that person for consent to treatment on your behalf.

If you were living in a residential aged care service and became very unwell, you may not be able to communicate. If this happened, the nurses at your service could look at your advance care planning documents to find out what kind of care you would prefer. Your document may state that, in some circumstances, you do not want a particular treatment.

Advance care planning documents are used when, due to illness or injury, people cannot make their wishes known. These documents can be used by the people caring for you to help them decide what care you would choose. This can be a discussion between you, your family, carers and your healthcare providers.

These documents together with details of your emergency contacts, and those people who have a copy of your documents and their contact information, can be held on your My Health Record.

 

What advance care planning information can I add to my record?

Your My Health Record can hold digital copies of your advance care planning document(s); that is, scanned copies of the documents describing your wishes or telling who can make the decision for you to be made available if and when needed.
Your record can also hold names and contact details of people who have a copy of your advance care planning documents should they be needed (Advance Care Document Custodian). A treating doctor may contact your custodian to talk about your wishes.

 

When is the best time to discuss advance care planning?

Any time is a good time to plan for your healthcare, even if you are in good health. Your advance care planning documents can be held on your My Health Record and updated at any time with your instructions or wishes. Start the conversation with your family, doctor or carers, or tell them that you have advance care planning documents and that these are available on your My Health Record. You should also provide a copy of your advance care planning documents to your doctor and to someone to hold on your behalf (a custodian for the documents).

 

Who can be involved in advance care planning?

You can choose who is involved in your advance care planning discussion. People often choose to include their family, carers, healthcare professional(s) with whom they have a good working relationship, and someone who they have nominated to make decisions on their behalf if the need arises.

 

What will happen if I upload an advance care planning document?

Once you have uploaded your document(s) to your My Health Record, healthcare providers that are connected to the My Health Record system and any representatives you may have will be able to see your advance care planning document(s).

These documents are important and will be available to anyone who can access your My Health Record.

If you change any of the advance care planning documents you have uploaded to your record you will need to upload a new document to your My Health Record so that the changes are available to others with access to your record.

Your healthcare providers will use the most recent advance care planning documents to understand your wishes and deliver healthcare in line with professional practice and relevant legislation. It is important to note that these documents may not be legally enforceable in some States and Territories of Australia.

 

How will my doctors or carers know, if or when, I do not want a medical treatment?

You can upload an advance care planning document that will advise any doctors treating you of your beliefs or wishes relating to medical treatments you might get in the future. This could include your beliefs about not allowing your doctors to give you a blood transfusion should you ever need it, or your wishes on getting life-prolonging treatments. You can also decide now who is able to make decisions for you when you might not be able to do so yourself.

 

How will I know if changes are made to advance care planning document(s) held on my record?

You can choose to get an email or SMS notification when an advance care planning document is uploaded, reinstated or removed from your My Health Record. To set up your notifications by email or SMS, go to the ‘Notification Settings’ page. Once set up, when an advance care planning document is uploaded to, removed from, or reinstated to your record by an Authorised Representative, a Full Access Nominated Representative or a healthcare provider, you will receive a notification telling you that this has happened.

 

Who should I tell if I upload or remove an advance care planning document?

If you upload an advance care planning document or remove an existing document from your My Health Record, you should tell the people who know about your advance care planning wishes, including your custodian and/or the person you have nominated to make decisions on your behalf, if you have one. You should also give them a copy of your advance care planning documents if they change.

 

How do I upload an advance care planning document?

You, or people acting on your behalf (such as an Authorised Representative or Full Access Nominated Representative) can add your advance care planning document(s) to your My Health Record.

Your document(s) should be:

  • written in English, signed and dated by you;
  • scanned in PDF format and saved on a computer;
  • uploaded to your record from a computer (select ‘Documents’ from the navigation menu, go to ‘Advance Care Planning’ and select ‘Add an Advance Care Planning document’ and select the PDF file you wish to upload); and
  • reviewed by you to make sure it displays correctly on the screen - check that no pages are missing and the document is the right way up.

While we perform checks to make sure that documents uploaded to the My Health Record system do not contain viruses, you should keep all your security measures and computer operating system regularly updated and enabled. Run your anti-virus and anti-spyware often and use them to scrutinise all downloaded files before you open them. Delete dangerous files and malware immediately.