What is advance care planning?

Planning for future care

If you were very unwell and not able to communicate your preferences to others, who would you want to speak for you? What would you want them to say?

Advance care planning helps to ensure that your loved ones and your doctors know what your health and personal preferences really are. That can give everyone some peace of mind.


Why is advance care planning important?

Whatever our age may be, we all have values and preferences related to health and personal care. It’s important to think about these values and preferences, discuss them and write them down in an Advance Care Directive so that your preferences are understood and respected if you were in a situation where you were unable to communicate them yourself.

Advance care planning is particularly important for people who are older and are frail, or people who have a chronic illness, multiple diseases, an early cognitive impairment, or are approaching their end of life.

Advance care planning involves:

  • appointing a substitute decision-maker
  • completing an Advance Care Directive.
"Planning ahead involves thinking about, talking about and sometimes writing down what you want to happen in the future. Planning ahead makes it easier and less stressful for family members."

Remember that an Advance Care Directive only goes into effect if you are unable make decisions for yourself. If that time ever comes, your Advance Care Directive will guide your loved ones and doctors so that they can make decisions that respect your values and preferences.


Fact sheets

Advance care planning fact sheets for individuals

  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for individuals and family

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for individuals and their families.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and dementia - for individuals

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet about advance care planning and dementia is for individuals outlining why planning ahead can help if memory is becoming more difficult.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and dementia - choosing a substitute decision-maker

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet about advance care planning and dementia is for individuals deciding who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself.