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An advance care plan is a document to tell your doctors or family about how you want to be treated if you can no longer speak for yourself or make your own decisions. They are sometimes called a ‘living will’.

You can add an advance care plan to your My Heath Record so it’s available to your treating doctors if it’s ever needed.

You can also store the names of people you have shared your advance care plan with.

Advance care plans typically cover:

  • Your wishes – the medical treatment and care you would or would not like to have.
  • Your voice – the identity of who you trust to speak on your behalf if a decision about your medical treatment and care must be made.

What to do when writing an advance care plan

It is recommended that you talk to your family, trusted friends and carers when creating an advance care plan so they know your wishes.

You may also tell them who you have nominated for your doctor to contact if someone needs to make medical decisions for you.

There are different legal requirements and formats in different states and territories in Australia that you need to consider before starting an advance care plan.

If you need help, there are health, financial, faith and cultural-based organisations that can help you prepare an advance care plan.

Please note: remember that any advice should be considered with respect to the laws and requirements of the state or territory in which you live.

Upload an advance care plan

If you want to upload an advance care plan to your record, you will need to follow these two steps:

Step 1: Get your advance care plan onto your computer

  1. Save your advance care plan to your computer as a PDF document. If you only have it in paper form, scan it in PDF format.

Tips:

  • When naming the document, include your name, the date and the words ‘advance care plan’.
  • It is recommended that the file not exceed 5MB (anything over 21MB will not upload) to ensure your doctors can view it, and that you can view it on your mobile phone if you choose. If you have scanned it in and it is too large, try scanning it in in black and white rather than colour, to reduce the file size.

Step 2: Upload your advance care plan

  1. Log in to your My Health Record through myGov.
  2. Select your record.
  3. From the ‘Documents’ tab, select the ‘Advance Care Planning’ link.
  4. Select the ‘Add an Advance Care Planning Document’ link.
  5. Scroll down to the ‘Select a PDF file to upload’ section and select ‘Browse’ to find the file you saved in Step 1.
  6. Enter the date that the document was last updated.
  7. Enter the name and contact number of the person who wrote the plan.
  8. Select ‘Next’. The document will upload.
  9. Once the document is uploaded, you can check that you uploaded the correct document, if it’s the right way up, and all the pages are included.
  • If you’re happy, select the ‘Save’ button and then the ‘OK’ button.
  • If there is a problem, select the ‘Cancel’ button, fix these in the PDF and start step 3 again.

Add custodian details

A custodian is someone who holds onto your advance care plan. You can enter their name so your doctors can reach them should the need arise.

Once you have uploaded your plan (following the previous steps):

  1. Select the ‘Add a custodian’ button found on the ‘Advance Care Planning Overview’ page
  2. Enter one or more custodian names.
  3. Select the ‘Save’ button.

You can use your My Health Record to view and update your advance care plans or custodians at any time.

View an advance Care Plan

To view an advance care plan uploaded to your record:

  1. When you are already logged into your My Health Record, select the 'Documents' tab.
  2. Select ‘Advance Care Planning’.
  3. Scroll down to ‘Advance care planning documents available on this record’ section where you can select a document you want to view.