ACP 1 – Planning for future health care - an overview

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This factsheet is part of a set of factsheets about Health Care Planning.

The factsheets in this series are:

  • ACP 1 – Planning for future health care - an overview

Advance Care Planning involves setting out your wishes now for your future health and medical care.

There are three main types of advance care planning. These are:

  1. Enduring Power of Attorney
  2. Advance Health Directive; and
  3. Statement of Views.

These forms of advance care planning only come into effect when you are no longer able to speak for yourself.

1. Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

An enduring power of attorney allows you to name someone to make decisions on your behalf if or when you can no longer do so. That person (referred to as your “attorney”) can be authorised to make financial (money) decisions, personal decisions (for example, relating to health care), or both. An attorney appointed for personal matters will become the primary contact if you need medical treatment. People often make an EPA when they make a Will.

The person you select cannot make decisions about “special health matters” (e.g. organ donation). Those decisions are made by your next of kin (closest relative).

An example of an enduring power of attorney document that you can complete online can be found at:

Paper copies can also be obtained from many newsagents.

A more detailed explanation about the EPA can be found by clicking the box below.

Information about EPA
2. Advance Health Directive (AHD)

This legally binding document tells health care professionals what treatment you would like to receive (or not receive) in the event that you are no longer able to make your wishes clear (e.g. you might be unconscious). While you are still able to speak for yourself, the Advance Health Directive will not be used.

Health professionals treating you must abide by your instructions in the Advance Health Directive, unless they are not consistent with good medical practice (you might have asked for something that could make your health worse) or are illegal (eg. a request for euthanasia).

When you fill out an Advance Health Directive, your doctor must agree that you understand your health condition(s) and the effect of making the Advance Health Directive. It is worth talking with your doctor before completing any forms.

You must also be at least 18 years old.

A step-by-step guide to completing an Advance Health Directive (with links to electronic forms) can be found by clicking the box below.

[Information about Advance Health Directive]
3. Statement of Views/Choices

If the person has completed an Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive whilst they had capacity, they don’t need to do anything else. However, if a person lacks legal capacity and they have not pre-arranged an EPA or AHD, they may be able to get assistance to prepare a Statement of Views/Choices. Unlike an Advance Health Directive or EPA, this document lacks legal force, but it still may help guide medical and care practitioners in deciding care arrangements. A Statement of Views/Choices is usually prepared by a family member in collaboration with care professionals.

A more detailed explanation about a Statement of Views and an interactive form can be found by clicking the box below.

[Information about a Statement of Views/Choices]

For information on other decision-makers for a person without legal capacity, such as the appointment of a guardian for health care for a person by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘QCAT’) or appointment of a statutory health attorney see the factsheets at: Guardianship and Administration.

Contact us

The information in this resource is for general information purposes only. If you would like help with a legal problem, you may be eligible for assistance from a LawRight service or clinic.

For more information about the help available, and the process for applying for help, please contact LawRight by:

Telephone: 07 3846 6317
Fax: 07 3846 6311
Postal address: LawRight, PO Box 3631, South Brisbane, Qld 4101
Website: LawRight

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