Advanced Care Directive

Advanced Care Directive

Many clients come to us wanting to appoint a guardian for themselves should they become unable to look after themselves because of age or infirmity. A will is often prepared at the same time, and frequently an enduring power of attorney.

These documents are all well and good, and when you are no longer able to look after yourself, a guardian (or guardians) will have total say as to things like where you are to live, what standard of living you will enjoy, and what medical and dental care you are to have. Many clients unfortunately fail to communicate to their guardians at the time that they are able to, how they wish to be treated in certain circumstances. For example, if they fall into a coma through illness or injury, or if other unsavoury circumstances befall them, or what is to apply in relation to end-of-life care.

Failure to communicate last wishes to your Guardian will mean that you are relying on their understanding of what you may or may not want in any given circumstance. Of course, oral communications are subject to misconceptions, misunderstandings and memory lapse (of the Guardian). There is no substitute for having communicated your Advanced Care Directive in writing, in a way that cannot be misunderstood.

This is where an Advanced Care Directive (also known as an ‘Expression Of Last Wishes’, or ‘Advanced Care Plan’), becomes relevant. We advise our clients on what is an Advanced Care Directive and how they operate and when they operate. The circumstances as to how clients wish to be treated and in what circumstances they wish to be treated that way, are wide-ranging, and we can explain the various types of Advanced Care Directives so that our clients can consider the range available.

We can indicate to our clients the circumstances that they should be aware of which may warrant a reconsideration of the terms of their Advanced Care Directive, and if those circumstances occur, then how the Advanced Care Directive might be changed.

We can help our clients by ensuring that the person or persons appointed as their carer under the Advanced Care Directive is the same as their guardian(s) so that there is no confusion if or when the document has to be relied on. We clarify for our clients, the alternatives available in respect to practical issues about the Advanced Care Directive – for example, how the Advanced Carers are to operate and function as between themselves, if there is more than one.

Our clients also appreciate the options that we explain as regards where the written Advanced Care Directive can be located, and how it can be accessed. We also assist our clients by helping them understand who it is who should be informed of the existence of the Advanced Care Directive.

It is important for our clients to understand the interaction between an Advanced Care Directive and their own Appointment of Enduring Guardian, and we assist our clients by explaining this to them when they seek our guidance.

If you have any concerns, or if you have anything that you wish to discuss, then please call us on 02 9570 7844 and ask for Leigh.