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1st October 2021 Latest News

Advance Care Directives

Couple on a bench

Make your wishes for care clear today, in case you can’t tomorrow.

At some point in your life, there may come a time when you are unable to make a decision about your own health care, living arrangements or other personal matters.

This could be because:

  • Of a sudden accident or mental health episode
  • Of dementia or similar condition
  • Of a sudden serious stroke
  • You are unconscious or in a coma.

If this happened, how would you want decisions to be made for you about your health care, living arrangements and other personal matters? And importantly, who would you want making these decisions for you?

Advance care planning is the process of planning for your future health care. It relates to health care you would or would not like to receive if you were to become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate your preferences or make decisions. This often relates to the care you receive at the end of your life.

Advance care planning gives you the opportunity to think about, discuss and record your preferences for the type of care you would receive and the outcomes you would consider acceptable. It helps to ensure your loved ones and doctors know what your health and personal preferences are and that these preferences are respected. More importantly, who would you want making these decisions for you?

What is an Advance Care Directive?

An Advance Care Directive makes it easy for others to know what your wishes are when you are unable to make these decisions yourself. It can also give you peace of mind to know that your wishes are known and will be respected.

The Advance Care Directive empowers you to make clear legal arrangements for your future health care, end of life, preferred living arrangements and other personal matters.

It is important to note that the Advance Care Directive replaces the existing Enduring Power of Guardianship, Medical Power of Attorney and Anticipatory Direction. These three documents historically were used alongside each other to determine your wishes, they have now been replaced with a single, Advance Care Directive form.

However, if you have completed Enduring Power of Guardianship, a Medical Power of Attorney or an Anticipatory Direction, these will continue to be legally effective unless you complete the new Advance Care Directive form.

The completion of an Advance Care Directive form will void any previously lodged Enduring Power of Guardianship, a Medical Power of Attorney or an Anticipatory Directions.

The new Advance Care Directive allows you to:

  • Write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements, personal matters
  • Appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so in the future.

What the Advance Care Directive is not.

The Advance Care Directive is not a Will. It also cannot be used to make financial or legal decisions. It is recommended you consider appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney to make decisions about your future finances and legal matters.

How can I complete an Advance Care Directive?

Visit to:

  • Download and print the free form and kit
  • Complete an interactive form online which will guide you through the process

Purchase a hard copy of the form and kit, which will be sent to you at your nominated address.

Alternatively, you can visit a Service SA centre to purchase a hardcopy of the kit and form, or call 13 23 24 to order one over the phone.

Once complete, the Advance Care Directive will need to be witnessed by an authorised witness such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, teacher and public servant (more than five years). A full list is available in the Advance Care Directives Guide.

THRF Group – Parkinson’s recently held a Living Well Education session on Advanced Care Directives hosted by Margaret Brown, an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of South Australia and University of Adelaide.

Margaret is a social scientist and consultant in advance care planning and bio-ethics. Currently she is developing a Goals of Care Plan for people who do not have capacity to complete a legal ACD but require support.

You can view the recording of her information seminar by visiting

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