Advance care planning

Advance care planning is 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. Think about:

  • 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?

An advance care plan will only be used if you are unable to communicate or make decisions yourself. It will assist others to make medical and personal care decisions for you.

Advance care planning steps:

  1. Talk about your values and preferences to the people who are close to you. 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 your appointment

Please bring copies of any advance care planning documents with you to any appointments. These include:

  1. An advance care directive from any health service or residential facility.
  2. An advance care plan made prior to March 12 2018
  3. A Refusal of Treatment Certificate made prior to March 12 2018 ,
  4. An Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) form, or an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal matters, with healthcare authority
  5. An Enduring Power of Guardianship, 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.


Advanced care planning information for health professionals

Mercy Health offers advance care planning information for patients in line with legislative requirements of the Victorian Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 . In some instances, we may be able to help patients commence or complete an advance care directive. We also encourage our patients to identify their medical treatment decision maker and consider appointing that person using the medical treatment decision maker appointment form.

When referring to any Mercy Health service, we encourage health professionals to provide any existing advance care planning documentation with the referral form.



Last reviewed October 23, 2017.

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