Advance Health Directive

Have you heard of an Advance Health Directive? Should you put one in place?

In this edition of 'The Counsel You Keep' - John Gallagher from Argon Law explains what an Advance Health Directive is and why you may wish to consider putting one in place. 

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Have you heard of an Advance Health Directive or, as it’s more commonly called, an AHD? What is an AHD? Should you put one in place?

An Advance Health Directive is a document that allows you to:

•    give or withhold your consent now to certain medical treatments in certain medical situations. It may be general (for example, that you do not wish to receive any available treatments), or specific (for example, that you wish to decline a certain medical treatment);

•    appoint an enduring attorney for health and personal matters;

•    include information that health professionals should know, including health conditions, allergies, and religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your care.

You may want to consider putting in place an AHD where you feel strongly about what medical treatment you do or do not want to receive in hospital, especially in the end stages of life. An AHD also ensures that your loved ones are not burdened with these difficult decisions.

A person over the age of 18 years who has capacity to understand the nature and effect of their decisions is generally able to make an Advance Health Directive.

It only comes into effect if you are unable to make your own decisions (i.e. you lose the capacity to make decisions). You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill. 

You may also wish to put in place a separate Enduring Power of Attorney document to authorise an attorney or attorneys to make decisions about both financial and personal or health related matters. 

It is strongly recommended that you discuss your Advance Health Directive with your doctor before completing it. Your doctor can help to explain medical terminology or other words you are unsure about. A doctor must also complete part of the form. 

If you would like more information about an Advance Health Directive please contact us on 07 5443 9988 or [email protected].

Argon Law is a Sunshine Coast law firm based in Maroochydore.  We are commercial lawyers with many years of experience in wills and estate planning and are eager to assist you in any way we can.

Always ensure you seek professional advice for your specific circumstances.  The above is not advice and is intended to be general in nature only.

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