Advance care planning

Advance care planning is about planning for your future health and personal care. This becomes important if you cannot make a decision or communicate your wishes at the time that treatment or care is being proposed. Advance care planning can help you receive the treatment of your choice in the future. It can help your doctors and family understand what you want and what is important to you.

Imagine if you became very sick and could not communicate with your doctors.

  • Who would speak on your behalf and make medical decisions for you?
  • Would they know what you want?
  • What would you like doctors to know?
  • What is meaningful and important to you?

Different laws apply in Victoria and NSW with regard to advance care planning.

Advance care planning in NSW

For more information on how to make an advance care directive in NSW and appointing an enduring guardian, visit:

Advance care planning in Victoria

Advance care planning can include the following steps:

  1. Talk about your values and preferences to the people you are close to. Think about who you would like to make decisions for you. Consider appointing them as your medical treatment decision maker using the relevant form.
  2. Talk to your doctors or healthcare team about benefits and risks of possible medical treatments.
  3. Consider writing down your wishes and instructions for future treatment in an advance care directive.
  4. Share this directive with people who may be important in your care, for example your general practitioner, Mercy Health, family and your medical Enduring Power of Attorney.
  5. Review your advance care directive regularly with your decision maker and doctor.

For further information, please refer to the Better Health external link below. You can also download the relevant Victorian forms and instructions below.

For your appointment

Please bring copies of any advance care planning documents with you to your appointment, including:

  • the written appointment of a medical treatment decision maker made under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic), which meets the witnessing requirements
  • an advance care directive made under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic), which meets the witnessing requirements
  • an advance care plan made prior to 12 March 2018
  • a Refusal of Treatment Certificate made prior to 12 March 2018
  • an Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) form or an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal matters, with healthcare authority, made prior to 12 March 2018
  • an Enduring Power of Guardianship made prior to 1 September 2015, with healthcare authority.

With your permission, we will place these documents on your medical record.

Ask for a Mercy Health Advance Care Planning brochure. You can speak with the Mercy Health staff looking after you in the hospital or clinic. You can also ask to speak with a social worker, pastoral carer or our advance care planning manager.

At Mercy Health we want to make sure we provide patients with opportunities to engage in advance care planning. We may ask you to be involved in an audit to help us determine the quality of our service. If you have an advance care planning conversation with a staff member, we may also survey you about the advance care planning process so we can make sure we are providing a quality service to you.


Last reviewed October 23, 2017.

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