An Advance Health Directive (“AHD”) is a legal document that records your decisions about your future medical treatment in a way that will assist if you can no longer make decisions for yourself without giving that responsibility to someone else, like you would with an Enduring Power of Guardianship.
An AHD is appropriate at any age. However, it becomes particularly relevant if there is a diagnosis of a life-limiting condition or if you have concerns about a loss of mental capacity and would like to record your wishes for treatment.
When completing an AHD, you can nominate the type of treatment you would like to have or treatment that you do not want to have.
You must be over the age of 18 years and have the mental capacity to complete the AHD. The AHD will only be used if you cannot make or communicate decisions.
You can complete an AHD without a lawyer.
It is a user-friendly document that asks questions about your health and what is important to you if you are unwell or nearing death.
The form gives examples of matters you should consider, like what cultural or religious traditions you would like to observe or whether you would like your pets and loved ones around you.
The form also has a detailed section where you indicate what treatments you wish to have in different circumstances.
The Department of Health provides detailed information and resources about AHD’s, and you can download the form from their website.
Jude Keatley is a solicitor with Armadale-based law firm JK Legal.