Advance Health Directives

What is an Advance Health Directive?

An Advance Health Directive is a document with various purposes, including:

  • giving directions about your future health care preferences;
  • making your wishes known to healthcare providers; and
  • allowing you to nominate a person(s) to make certain decisions for you.

Can I make an Advance Health Directive?

To make an Advance Health Directive, you must be over 18 years of age and have capacity to understand the nature and effect of the directive. You should not make an Advance Health Directive if you are being pressured by someone. An Advance Health Directive should only be entered into freely and voluntarily.

Why do I need an Advance Health Directive?

It is important to have an Advance Health Directive in place in case you suffer from a loss of capacity and are unable to make decisions or provide instruction about your health care and your preferences for treatment and other health decisions.

The loss of capacity could occur unexpectedly due to an accident, dementia, stroke or disability. Having an Advance Health Directive in place can ensure that your views, wishes and preferences for your future health care and quality of life will be considered. 

When should I make an Advance Health Directive?

It is never too soon to make an Advance Health Directive, as at any moment, you could unexpectedly lose capacity. Before making the directive, you should consider your own life views and have an open discussion with your doctor and family.

You should consider making an Advance Health Directive in a timely manner if you are:

  • admitted to hospital;
  • suffering from a medical condition which may cause you to lose capacity; or
  • suffering from a chronic medical condition.

Once you suffer a loss of capacity, it may be too late to make an Advance Health Directive.

What’s involved in creating an Advance Health Directive?

After considering your wishes, you should complete the Queensland Government’s Advance Health Directive form.

Part of the form must be completed by your doctor, who will certify whether you have capacity to enter into the Advance Health Directive. Your doctor will also certify that they have discussed the various aspects of your wishes with you. Once your doctor signs the directive, you will be required to sign the document in the presence of an eligible witness. IM Lawyers can assist with the correct signing of your Advance Health Directive.

Need help with your Advance Heath Directive? Freecall:  1800 001 339

How long does it take to prepare an Advance Health Directive?

The time taken to prepare your Advance Health Directive is dependent on the complexity of your wishes. Generally, an Advance Health Directive may take a few weeks to complete.

Where should I store my Advance Health Directive?

You should store your Advance Health Directive in a safe place and ensure that family and close people in your life know where the document is stored. Where you have appointed people to make decisions for you, it may be worthwhile ensuring they also have a copy of the document or know where to access one if necessary.

It is also a good idea to have a few certified copies of your Advance Health Directive and to provide a copy to your doctor and other health professionals so that your wishes are known.

How is an Advance Health Directive different to a Power of Attorney?

An Advance Health Directive and an Enduring Power of Attorney may have some overlap, as both allow you to stipulate the people you would like to make decisions about your health, and both allow you to set out preferences you have for your Attorney to consider if you are not able to make decision.

However, an Advance Health Directive goes into more detail about your medical wishes and preferences. It allows you to consider various treatments and sets out your views and preferences in relation to each of them and gives you an opportunity to set out wishes should certain events happen.

For example, it provides a section for you to consider matters such as blood transfusions, life support and resuscitation. It also allows you to list any cultural and religious views that you hold and would like to ensure are considered in relation to decisions about your health.

How IM Lawyers can help

At IM Lawyers, we have the expertise to assist you in preparing an Advance Health Directive to suit your personal circumstances.

Call now to arrange an initial free consultation

1800 001 339

It costs you nothing to find out where you stand.

For many Estate Planning matters, we will set a fixed rate so you can understand the costs upfront.

Generally, this fixed rate will depend on the complexity of the work.  We can review initial documents and have initial discussions with you for free. This enables us to be able to accurately provide a fixed rate to you.