Ensure your advance care planning documents are accessible in an emergency

“National Advance Care Planning Week reminds us of the importance of making your loved ones aware of your preferences for future health care and treatment. If you become unwell, the burden of decision-making falls on those you love,” says Adelaide GP, Dr Chris Moy, former Deputy President of the Australian Medical Association and ambassador for National Advance Care Planning Week.   

“Having conversations beforehand about what matters most to you, documenting your choices, and knowing where this information is stored and available can help ease this burden. My Health Record is equipped to store your advance care directive, allowing it to be accessed by your health care team at a place and time in the future when it’s needed. It's an important mechanism to enable you to receive care that is aligned with your preferences, no matter what the future holds.”  

Storing advance care planning documents in your My Health Record means you and your healthcare providers have secure access to them whenever they’re needed. This is particularly vital when travelling or in emergency situations because it enables your treating team to have a better understanding of your preferences and the type of care you may want.   
The Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency)’s recent video highlights the benefits of uploading advance care planning documents to My Health Record. CEO of Elderly Chinese Home Minerva Lau explains in the video, “Having an advance care plan documented electronically is so very important when we are having a medical emergency. Everybody is very stressed, it will be too late to ask the resident’s family to make a decision at such a painful moment. If we can have that decided before the bad things come up, it really minimises the stress and minimises the confusion when we are trying to communicate with health professionals like the hospital or the paramedics.” 

As Advance Care Planning Australia Program Director Xanthe Sansome says, “Only 14 per cent of older Australians have advance care directives to guide decision making at the time of a health crisis. Over 50 per cent of people approach their end of life without the capacity to make their own decisions. So, decisions about whether to insert a feeding tube, move to an aged care facility or be resuscitated (and many more) are often left to family members who are making the decision ‘in the dark’ while upset about our declining health. But we can change that.”  
Make sure your preferences are stored safely  

Share your future healthcare preferences with your loved ones, carers and healthcare providers, appoint your substitute decision-maker and write your advance care directive. Ask your GP to sign your advance care planning documents. Share copies with your substitute decision-maker, family, carers and your healthcare providers.  

Once your advance care directive or other advance care planning document has been signed, ask your GP if they can upload it to your My Health Record on your behalf. Your preferences can then be safely and securely accessed if they are ever needed.  

You can add your advance care planning document to your record yourself  at any time. Watch this instructional video to learn how.  

To find out more about uploading advance care planning documents to My Health Record, visit the Australian Digital Health Agency’s website and check out the videos and new consumer e-learning module.  

Get easier access through the new my health app 

The new my health app provides a secure and convenient way to access My Health Record on your mobile, especially when you want to view your advance care planning documents. 

It also provides access to other key health information once uploaded to My Health Record. This includes: 

  • medicine information history 

  • pathology results, including COVID-19 test results 

  • proof of vaccination history and upcoming immunisations 

  • allergy and reactions information 

  • hospital discharge summaries 

my health is now available to download from iOS and Android app stores by searching for ‘my health gov’.