An Advance Care Directive is a way to say what healthcare treatments you would like to have or refuse, should you be in a position where you are seriously ill or injured and unable to make

An Advance Care Directive can only be made by you as an adult with decision-making capacity.

If it is valid, it must be followed. Health professionals and family members have no authority to override a valid Advance Care Directive.


An Advance Care Directive may include one or more of the following:

  • the person you would like to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make


  • details of what is important to you, such as your values, life goals and preferred outcomes
  • the treatments and care you would like or would refuse if you have a life-threatening illness or injury


Why is an Advance Care Directive important?

Making an Advance Care Directive is an important part of Advance Care Planning.

  • None of us know what will happen in the future or can predict what might happen with our health.
  • Medical advances mean that there are treatments which can keep you alive when you are seriously ill or injured, and which may prolong your life.
  • Some people have firm ideas about how they want to live the rest of their life, including conditions or treatments that they might find unacceptable.
  • In a crisis, your family may find it difficult to decide what treatment is best for you. An Advance Care Directive will help your family and doctors to know what you would want when you are not able to tell them yourself. It’s best to write your Advance Care Directive so that your wishes are clearly recorded.