Advance Care Directives
Though planning for the future is exciting when talking about where you are going to travel next, where you will be at in your career, or how big your family will be by that point. You have to plan ahead, should there come a time when you are unable to make decisions. There could come a time when you experience an injury or an illness that alters the ability to be able to make your own decisions. If you complete an advance care directive, you have the ability to specify what medical treatment decisions you want to be made on your behalf. You can give instructions about future medical treatment that you consent or refuse, as well as, the values and preferences for your medical treatment decision maker to consider when it is their time to make decisions for you.
Instructional directives are statements of your medical treatment decisions for future procedures and care. By signing an instructional directive, you are either giving consent or refusal medical treatment. Health practitioners need your consent before they can perform any medical procedure or treatment for you. The practitioner, if you are do not have decision-making capacity, will find out whether or not you have an advance care directive and follow the relevant instructional directive you had given. You shouldn’t complete an instructional directive if you do not know the medical treatment that you want to do or not want to do in the future. The practitioner will have to follow your instructions given in the directive.
A values directive will state the values and preferences of medical treatment. People have different views on whether or not a quality of life is more important than a person just being alive. People can value a caretaker while others would prefer to take care of themselves. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, what matters is that you make the choices that will best suit you later in life. It also helps to explain them to your loved ones so they have a better understanding of why you are making your decisions.
When completing the advance care directives form, you will sign it in front of two witnesses, one who must be a medical practitioner. You must be evaluated as in the proper capacity and sign the form voluntarily. Your directives will end if you complete a new form, cancel the appointment of the directive, the VCAT cancels your appointment, or you pass away. If you do not have a directive, your practitioner will ask your medical treatment decision maker. The decision maker will make your decisions on your behalf.
**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.