VIC

Advance care planning is about your future health care. It gives you the opportunity to plan for what you would
want or not want, if you become unable to make or communicate your own preferences.

The following outlines the legal requirements, forms and fact sheets in Victoria (VIC):


Frequently asked questions

Advance care planning and the law

To make medical decisions, you must have decision-making capacity.

If illness or serious injury (temporary or permanent) prevents you from making decisions about your health care, advance care planning makes sure that your values, beliefs and preferences for treatment and care are understood and respected. Completed and accessible Advance Care Directive documentation allows you to be heard and is important to your treating team and others.

Advance care planning is an ongoing process with a number of steps.

Be open

  • Think and talk about your values, beliefs and preferences for current and future health care.
  • Choose a substitute decision-maker: someone you trust to speak for you if you became very sick and couldn’t speak for yourself. Ask them if they are prepared to be your substitute decision-maker.

Be ready

  • Talk about your values, beliefs and preferences with your substitute decision-maker and other people involved in your care such as family, friends, carers and doctors.
  • Write your preferences and/or appoint your substitute decision-maker using the recommended Advance Care Directive document(s).

Be heard

  • Share your Advance Care Directive documentation with your substitute decision-maker, family, friends, carers and your doctors. This will help ensure everyone knows what you want.
  • Upload your completed documents to MyHealth Record.
  • Review your plan regularly and update it as needed.

If you become unable to make decisions about your own health care, a substitute decision-maker will make decisions on your behalf.

Your substitute decision-maker may be:

  • Chosen and appointed by you
  • Appointed for you by a guardianship tribunal
  • Identified for you by a default list under legislation.

Your substitute decision-maker is the first of the following who is available, willing and able to make decisions:

1. A medical treatment decision-maker(s) appointed by you

2. A guardian appointed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to make decisions on your medical treatment

3. A person with a close and continuing relationship with you (medical treatment decision-maker), chosen in the following order:

a. Your spouse or domestic partner

b. Your primary carer

c. Your adult child (eldest to youngest)

d. Your parent (eldest to youngest)

e. Your adult sibling (eldest to youngest).

In Victoria, the substitute decision-maker appointed by you is a medical treatment decision-maker. You may want to choose and appoint one or more adults to this role. To do this you need to complete the Appointment of a medical treatment decision-maker form.

The form has specific requirements for completion and witnessing. Your chosen medical treatment decision-maker must accept this role by signing the form. Your medical treatment decision-maker can consent to or refuse treatment on your behalf.

They must act in accordance with any lawful limitations or conditions 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.

Note: If you have appointed a medical enduring power of attorney, an enduring power of attorney, or enduring power of guardianship made prior to 12 March 2018, these are still valid.

In your Advance Care Directive, you can write either or both:

  • An instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future medical treatment you consent to or refuse.
  • A values directive which documents your values and preferences for your medical treatment decision-maker to consider when making decisions for you.

Medical treatment includes treatment for physical and/or mental conditions.

You should use the recommended form Advance Care Directive for adults or similar. The form has specific instructions for completion that need to be followed. It needs to be witnessed by a medical practitioner and another adult. For other documentation to meet the formal requirements of an Advance Care Directive, it must be in English, include your full name, address, date of birth, be signed by you and dated, and meet witnessing requirements. Commonly, these documents also include details regarding your organ donation status.

Upload your completed medical treatment decision-maker appointment form and your Advance Care Directive to your My Health Record.

Note: A valid refusal of medical treatment certificate made prior to 12 March 2018 and signed by a doctor is still valid.

Support person

If you require support to make and/or communicate your own medical treatment decisions while you have decision-making capacity, a support person can help represent your interests. You can appoint a support person by completing the Appointment of a Support Person form.

We recommend that you review your decisions and documents regularly. This is particularly important if there is a change in your health, personal or living situation. You can update your Advance Care Directive and/or your appointment of a medical treatment decision-maker at any time providing you still have decision-making capacity. Your Advance Care Directive ends when you complete a new Advance Care Directive, you revoke it, it expires (if an expiry date is included) or you die.

You can amend the document by writing on the face of the document. You should let others know of any changes, and provide updated copies. Your medical treatment decision maker(s) appointment(s) ends if you revoke it, if the people appointed are unable to act, resign their appointment, or if you die. Your support person appointment(s) ends if you revoke it, if the people appointed are unable to act, resign their appointment, if you lose capacity, or you die.

In general, a valid Advance Care Directive will apply in other places in Australia, although there may be some limitations and additional requirements. Similarly, an appointment of a medical treatment decision-maker will usually apply, but there is variation in the laws within Australia.

It is recommended that you obtain specific advice from the Office of the Public Advocate or equivalent in the relevant state or territory. If you are permanently moving state or territory, it is recommended you update your documentation using the recommended form(s) in consultation with your doctor, substitute decision-maker and/or support person.


Forms

Advance care planning forms

  • Form

    Advance care directive for adults (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this new form to make an instructional directive (specific directives about future treatment a person consents to or refuses) and a values directive (a statement of the person's views and values for their medical treatment).
  • Form

    Appointment of medical treatment decision maker(s) (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form if you wish to formally appoint one or multiple medical treatment decision makers, who will have legal authority (in order of appointment based on availability at the time), to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so.
  • Form

    Appointment of support person (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this new form to appoint a support person to assist you to make, communicate and give effect to your medical treatment decisions.
  • Form

    Advance Statement for Mental Health (VIC)

    Department of Health & Human Services

    The form to complete an advance statement documenting your preferences for your mental health service treatment.
  • Form

    Advance care directive for adults for someone signing on your behalf (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this new form if you need someone's help to physically fill in and sign an advance care directive for you, at your direction. This document allows an adult to document their values and preferences for future medical treatment, should they lose their ability to make decisions.
  • Form

    Appointment of medical treatment decision maker for someone signing on your behalf (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form if you need someone to sign an appointment of medical treatment decision maker for you, at your direction, who will have legal authority to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so.
  • Form

    Revocation of an advance care directive form (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form to revoke a previously completed advance care directive.
  • Form

    Resignation of medical treatment decision maker (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form to inform the person who appointed you, and any other appointed medical treatment decision maker who was appointed at the same time as you, that you resign from being a person's appointed medical treatment decision maker.
  • Form

    Revocation of medical treatment decision maker form (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form to revoke your appointment of a medical treatment decision maker.
  • Form

    Resignation of support person (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form to inform the person who appointed you that you resign as support person.
  • Website

    Resources for people who lack capacity to undertake Advance Care Planning (VIC)

    Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

    Guides for clinicians and consumers to help them make medical decisions for a person who lacks capacity, aged care facility goals of care forms, and a presentation of the clinical implications of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act.
  • Form

    Revocation of support person form (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    Use this form to revoke your appointment of a support person (medical treatment).

More information

Supporting information, guides and checklists about Victorian forms

Changes to Victorian forms.

The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 went into effect 12 March 2018, affecting Victorian forms.

  • If you have completed the forms prior to 12 March 2018, they will still be valid. You will not be required to complete new forms.
  • If you are completing forms after 12 March 2018, the new forms shown on this site will be required.

The following resources can help answer any questions about the new legislation and the updates to Victorian forms.

  • Form

    Instructions for completing an 'Advance care directive' for adults form (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    These instructions provide additional guidance and information to assist in completing the Advance care directive for adults form.
  • Form

    Checklist of steps for appointing your medical treatment decision maker (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    This checklist provides additional guidance and information to help you appoint your medical treatment decision maker.
  • Form

    Checklist of steps for appointing your support person (VIC)

    State Government of Victoria

    This checklist provides additional guidance and information to help you appoint your support person.
  • Articles & Publications

    Summary of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016

    State Government of Victoria

    A summary of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 for health practitioners.
  • Articles & Publications

    Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 FAQ

    State Government of Victoria

    Answers to common questions for health practitioners and individuals who are affected by or interested in the Act that comes into effect March 2018.
  • Articles & Publications

    Guide to the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016.

    State Government of Victoria

    A guide to understanding the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 for health practitioners.
  • Articles & Publications

    Changes to advance care directives — Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016

    Russell Kennedy Lawyers

    The law surrounding advance care directives and the associated obligations on health practitioners are set to change in Victoria in March 2018.

Fact sheets

Advance care planning fact sheets

  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and the law: VIC

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet is for individuals, providing an overview about advance care planning and Victorian (VIC) law.
  • 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 fact sheet for substitute decision-makers

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for substitute decision-makers.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning and legal requirements: VIC

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    This fact sheet for health professionals gives specific information about advance care planning and Victorian (VIC) law.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for care workers

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for care workers.
  • Fact sheet

    Advance care planning fact sheet for healthcare professionals

    Advance Care Planning Australia

    Information about advance care planning for healthcare professionals.