Before creating your plan in Western Australia, it’s important to have a good understanding of what advance care planning is and what’s involved in the advance care planning process.
On this page you can find advance care directives and other documents relevant to Western Australia.
Recording your choices
In Western Australia there are three ways you can record your choices for future health and personal care:
- Complete an Enduring Power of Guardianship
- Complete an Advance Health Directive
- Complete a Values and Preferences Form: Planning for my future care
Completing these documents is the best way to make your preferences known about the type of treatment you would prefer if you are unable to communicate or make decisions and to enable family and health professionals to respect your values, beliefs and preferences.
Enduring Power of Guardianship
An Enduring Power of Guardianship form allows you to choose one or more trusted relatives or friends to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf. The people you appoint become your substitute decision-maker/s if you are no longer able to make decisions. An Enduring Power of Guardianship is a legal document that gives your chosen guardian/s the legal authority to act for you and to make decisions on your behalf.
To appoint one or more adults to this role, you need to read the Enduring Power of Guardianship kit and complete the Enduring Power of Guardianship form.
The form has specific requirements for completing and witnessing. These requirements are explained on the form.
Your guardian can consent to or refuse treatment on your behalf. They must act in accordance with any lawful directions contained in the form. They must make the decision they believe you would make if you could make your own decision. For this reason, it is helpful to talk to them about what is important to you and any preferences you have.
Get an idea of what you can include and how to complete the Enduring Power of Guardianship form.
Advance Health Directive
An Advance Health Directive is a formal way to give instructions about your treatment decisions and future health and personal care. It will only take effect if you do not have capacity to make or communicate decisions for yourself.
An Advance Health Directive should be on the recommended Advance Health Directive form or similar.
The form has specific instructions for completion which need to be followed. The Advance Health Directive needs to be witnessed by two adults including a person authorised by law to witness statutory declarations.
In your Advance Health Directive, you can:
A treatment is any medical or surgical treatment including palliative care and life-sustaining measures (such as assisted ventilation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation), dental treatment, or other health care.
In your Advance Health Directive, you can record your preferences about certain treatments. For example, you might ask that life-sustaining treatment - such as tube feeding or resuscitation - be withheld or withdrawn if you develop:
a terminal illness with no known cure or chance of recovery
severe and irreversible brain damage, and you can’t communicate
a severe illness or injury that you are unlikely to recover from
Values and Preferences Form
In a Values and Preferences Form: Planning for my future care you can record your values and preferences for future health and personal care and state where your advance care directives, such as your Enduring Power of Guardianship or your Advance Health Directive, can be found.
Although the Values and Preferences Form is not a legal document, the content can still have a guiding effect by assisting substitute decision-makers and health professionals if you are unable to make or communicate your decisions, values and preferences.
The questions are the same as Part 3 of the Advance Health Directive. If you are not yet ready to complete a full Advance Health Directive with formal witnessing and signing requirements, you may like to start with completing this form.
Download a Values and Preferences Form: Planning for my future care
Completing an advance care plan for someone else
This advance care plan isn’t legally binding but can be useful to inform care decisions and should be taken into account.
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Storing your documents
It’s important that you share copies of your advance care planning documents with:
- your family, friends, carers and your doctors
- enduring guardian/s and enduring power of attorney/s
- health professionals including GP, hospital and aged care staff
This will ensure everyone is aware of your values and preferences for treatment decisions.
If you decide to make an Advance Health Directive, you can also carry an Advance Health Directive Alert Card in your purse or wallet, or wear a MedicAlert bracelet to let others know that you have an Advance Health Directive.
Making changes and revoking documents
We recommend that you review your decisions and documents regularly. Ideally this should be every two to four years or if there are changes to your health, personal or living situation.
You can change these documents at any time by completing a new document.
Your Advance Health Directive ends when you revoke it, it expires (if an expiry date is included) or you die. You can revoke a previous Advance Health Directive when you complete a new Advance Health Directive by ticking the ‘revoke previous version’ tick box on the front page.
Your Enduring Power of Guardianship appointment ends if you revoke it, if the person(s) appointed are unable to act, if they resign their appointment or if you die.
Contact our National Advance Care Planning Support ServiceTM on 1300 208 582 for more information and advice. We're available 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday (AEST/AEDT).
Applicability in other states and territories
In general, a valid advance care directive will apply in other places in Australia, although there may be some limitations and additional requirements. Learn more about applicability in specific states and territories.
For more in-depth legal information, read about advance care planning laws in Western Australia.