Step 4: Write your plan down

Step 4: Write your plan down

Be heard: write it down! Written preferences can give you, your decision-maker, your family, friends, carers and doctors peace of mind, because they can be sure of what you'd want.

You can write your own advance care plan or you can download a form relevant to your state or territory. The document is also sometimes called an Advance Care Directive.

Writing down your preferences is important because:

  • doctors might have to make an urgent decision or might not be able to contact your substitute decision-maker quickly enough
  • a written plan provides guidance or instructions to your substitute decision-maker and to the doctors about the sort of care you want
  • they may remind and support your substitute decision-maker when they need to make decisions about your treatment.

You may also want to tell your substitute decision-maker how closely you want them to follow your preferences. For example, do you want them to follow your preferences exactly as you have written and discussed them? Or would you prefer them to take your preferences into account but to also use their own judgement in coming to a decision?

Involve your substitute decision-maker and your doctor when you're writing your plan. This helps them to be aware of your preferences and can discuss them with you. They can also help you write your preferences down in a clear way.

After you've written your plan down, ask your doctor to sign the document. You will also need to find out who else needs to sign your document: find information from your state or territory.

Of course, there's no point in making an advance care plan if no one knows about it! Keep the original documents in a safe place. Make copies and give them to:

  • your substitute decision-maker
  • your doctor.

You can store additional copies with:

Keep a list of who has your advance care plan. The next step is reviewing your plan from time to time, so you'll have to give them an updated copy if anything changes.

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