An Advance Health Directive (AHD), sometimes known as a living will, is a formal method of giving instructions regarding your future health. It comes into effect only if your cognitive health deteriorates to the extent whereby you are unable to make your own decisions.
An AHD allows the testator to appoint an attorney for health and personal matters, as well as outlining information health professional should know. This includes health conditions, allergies and spiritual/religious beliefs that may affect your care.
Who can make an AHD?
In order to make an AHD you must be over the age of 18 and have the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of your health care as well as the nature and effect of the directive. Likewise, you must be able to communicate your decisions, all of which must be made voluntarily and of your own free will.
When should an AHD be made?
The best time to make an AHD is right now! It is important that this be done before that onset of any urgent health condition. Likewise, it is particularly important if you are soon to be admitted to hospital, have a medical condition that will imminently affect your capacity and suffer from a chronic medical illness that could cause serious complications.
So what’s in an AHD?
An AHD contains specific instructions regarding your medical treatments, for example whether you wish to receive life-sustaining measures such as tube-feeding or resuscitation to prolong your life. Furthermore an AHD allows you to outline the quality of life that you deem to acceptable. This means for example that you may decide to have life-sustaining measures withheld or withdrawn should you have conditions such as:
- A terminal illness with no cure or chance of recovery
- Severe and irreversible brain damage, without the ability to communicate
- A severe illness or injury you little chance of recovery
If you have any questions regarding Advance Health Directives or would like to book a consultation, feel free to email the Greenhalgh Pickard Estates team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07 5444 1022.
Queensland Government Website, (14 July 2015) Advance Health Directive, available at: https://www.qld.gov.au/law/legal-mediation-and-justice-of-the-peace/power-of-attorney-and-making-decisions-for-others/advance-health-directive/