Making decisions about your future care is something that nobody likes to think about, but is nevertheless necessary. There are various ways you can make decisions about this during the wills and estate planning process, but perhaps one of the most effective is through an Advanced Health Directive.
While many people have heard the term Power of Attorney, Advanced Health Directives are perhaps not as well known. Here are some of the features of this document, as well as what you'll need to do to draw one up.
1. An Advanced Health Directive will cover certain areas
The main purpose of an Advanced Health Directive is to enable you to plan the type of medical care or treatment you would like to receive later in life. It will be used in the event that you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.
Some people have strong views on whether or not their lives should be prolonged using artificial measures.
However, it will only cover certain areas that you'll need to be aware of. The document is your opportunity not only to outline your wishes, but also to appoint a person who will take charge of your health and personal matters.
This is your chance to state your personal beliefs, as well as any allergies that might ultimately affect your health care. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy estimates that as many as 4 million Australians are affected by allergic diseases, so it's essential to make these known when considering your future.
2. You can give specific instructions related to your care
Some people have strong views on whether or not their lives should be prolonged using artificial measures, and an Advanced Health Directive is your chance to state them.
In some cases, you might need to be put on life support, or be given artificial hydration and nutrition. Under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000, health professionals are required to use the least intrusive of life support methods available. Through an Advanced Health Directive, you will be able to have a say in the treatments used, even if you're unable to make a decision at the time.
3. Anyone can make an Advanced Health Directive
Providing you are over the age of 18, it is possible to write up an Advanced Health Directive at any stage. However, many people go in search of the services of lawyers in Cairns for help with this matter at a critical stage of their lives.
They might be about to undergo major surgery, or have been diagnosed with a life-altering condition. No matter what your motivations might be, make sure that your Advanced Health Directive is legally sound.