If you have wishes for your future medical treatment, it's important to write them down and share them, so that your family knows about them should the need arise.
You may also ask someone to speak on your behalf, and make decisions about your medical treatment, if you were unable to do so yourself. You can share this information in your My Health Record where it will be available to healthcare providers at the time and place it is needed.
You should still share this important information with the people who might be contacted if you were unable to communicate regarding your medical treatment as not all healthcare providers will have access to your My Health Record.
- My Wishes: “If you became very ill and could not communicate, would your family or doctors know your wishes for future medical treatment?” (You can communicate your wishes in an informal document or a more formal document such as an Advance Care Directive or Advance Health Directive, and add it your My Health Record – we call this an Advance Care Planning document)
- My Voice: “If important decisions had to be made about your medical treatment, who would you want your doctors to talk on your behalf if you couldn’t?” (You can identify someone to be your voice through an enduring guardian or power of attorney document and add it to your My Health Record – we also call this an Advance Care Planning document)
- My Advance Care Plan: “If important decisions had to be made about your medical treatment and you had documented your wishes so your views were known, who are the people who know about and have copies of your documented wishes who could share these with your doctors if you couldn’t?”(You can add the names and contact details of the people who you shared your Advance Care Planning documents with to your My Health Record, and doctors will be able to contact them should the need arise – we call these people your Advance Care Document Custodians)
Advance Care Planning in 3 easy steps:
- Talk to your family, trusted friends and carers about what you want, and don’t want, when it comes to your future medical treatment and care. You can do this at any time - when you are healthy, if you are sick or facing serious or ongoing medical treatments, or preparing for end of life. Tell your loved ones who you have nominated for doctors to contact if someone needs to make medical decisions for you.
- Write down your wishes in an Advance Care Planning document. Your wishes could be about life-prolonging treatments or services you do or don’t want – but write it down and outline whatever you want, as these are your wishes. List the names and contact details of who can speak on your behalf with your treating doctors, if you are unable to. The format of your document can be a note that you have written or typed. Doctors should consider this when they make decisions about how to care for you, if or when, you can’t communicate. You may want to formalise your wishes in a document that is legally recognised.
- Share your Advance Care Planning documents with the people who can be contacted should the need arise and upload the documents and contact details for these people to your My Health Record. This will help make your treating doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers aware that you have specific wishes about your future medical treatments or care given to you. Of course, you can also share your documents with your GP, Aged Care Facility and other healthcare providers who are involved in your care. Remember to review your plan regularly, and update when your wishes or custodian contacts change.
In preparing an Advance Care Plan or identifying someone who might be able to make decisions for you if you can’t, a range of information resources are available to help.
There are variations in the state and territory legislation and supporting forms that you should consider before you start your plan. Find more information here.
There are many health, financial, faith and cultural-based organisations that may also help you prepare an advance care planning document, but any advice should be considered with respect to the state or territory in which you live.
Uploading an Advance Care Planning Document to your My Health Record
If you do not have a My Health Record, find out how to register here.
- Save your advance care planning document on your computer. It’s a good idea to include your name, date and the type of document in the PDF filename.
- If you have an electronic document, save it as a PDF on your computer.
- If you have a paper document, scan it and save it as a PDF on your computer. Please check that it is no larger than 21 MB. You may need to scan the document in black and white rather than colour, to reduce the size.
- Log in to your My Health Record through myGov.
- From the 'Documents' tab, click the 'Advance Care Planning'.
- Click the 'Add an Advance Care Planning Document' link.
- Scroll down to the document upload section.
- Click 'Browse' and browse to the document saved in step 1.
- Enter the date that the document was last updated.
- Enter the given name, family name and contact number of the person who wrote the document – this would normally be you.
- Click the 'Next' button to upload the document. The document will be uploaded and displayed.
- Check that you have uploaded the correct document, it is around the right way and all pages are included. If you are happy for the document to be added to your My Health Record click the 'Save' button and then click the 'Ok' button. (Otherwise, if there are any problems with the document, click the 'Cancel' button and fix the problems in the PDF. Then go back to step 3.)
- To add the contact details of your Advance Care Document Custodian(s), click the 'Add a Custodian' button.
- Enter the names and contact details of the people you have shared the document with (your advance care document custodians). Click the 'Save' button when finished.
Viewing an Advance Care Planning Document in your My Health Record
You can view or update your Advance Care Planning Document or custodian in your My Health Record by selecting the 'Documents' tab, choose 'Advance Care Planning', then choose 'view Advance Care Planning' link.
You and your healthcare providers can view your Advance Care Planning Document (up to 21 MB in size) from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection.
- Any healthcare provider accessing your Advance Care Plan, via their clinical desktop, can only view documents that are less than 8MB in size
- If you are using a mobile app that connects to information in your My Health Record, the current viewing size is limited to 5MB in size.