Advance Care Planning for Healthy Dying

Advance Care Planning is a process of discussion between a patient, the patient's family, and health care professionals about the goals and desired direction of the patient's end-of-life care. It is particularly important because the patient may later lose the capacity to participate in discussions when difficult decisions need to be made as the end of their life nears. Download the 'Capacity Toolkit' (2.5Mb), for more information about the idea of capacity, and how to assess it.

Healthy Dying is Tasmania's initiative to increase community understanding of the role of palliative care, and the value of having open discussion about people's values and wishes for the end of their life. It includes face-to-face community education, the promotion of a standard Advance Care Directive form to record information about a person's values and wishes to assist others in reaching decisions, and a process to better identify and manage each patient's Medical Goals of Care within a hospital or nursing home setting. More information about Healthy Dying

If the patient cannot make decisions for themselves, doctors must make every effort to find a substitute decision-maker, or Person Responsible who can make decisions on the patient's behalf. More information about Person Responsible. The patient may have appointed such a person, but if they haven't then the doctors must choose someone. Tasmania has a formal process for appointing someone called an Enduring Guardian, with the authority to make health and lifestyle decisions for another person. More information is available from the Guardianship and Administration Board.

An Advance Care Directive (ACD) is a form designed to record people's values and wishes for the end of their life. Every adult who has the capacity to make their own decisions has the right to agree to or refuse medical treatment, and the ACD is a way of providing this information to other people if the patient can no longer make decisions for themselves. The people who are most interested in this information are the health care professionals who need to know how to treat the patient, and any 'Person Responsible' who has the authority to decide on the patient's behalf.

Contact us if you have any queries about ACDs in Tasmania.