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29 March, 2019 - 9:45

With National Advance Care Planning Week occurring 1-5 April, medical leaders are reminding Australians to make sure their future health care preferences are uploaded to My Health Record, where they can be easily accessed when needed.

“National Advance Care Planning Week reminds us all of the importance of making your loved ones aware of your wishes in regards to health treatment, for a time in future where you may no longer be able to express your preferences. When you are sick, the burdens and stresses of decision-making may fall on those you love,” said says Adelaide GP, Dr Chris Moy, Chair of the Ethics and Medico-legal Committee of the Australian Medical Association and ambassador for National Advance Care Planning Week.

“Having conversations beforehand, documenting your wishes, and knowing where this information is stored and available can help ease this burden. My Health Record is equipped to store your advance care plan, allowing it to be accessed by your health care team at a place and a time in the future when it is needed. All Australians now have the opportunity to use this tool to ensure that they obtain health treatment in line with their preferences.”

Storing advance care planning documents in My Health Record is particularly vital in emergency care cases where hospitals, paramedics and other relevant registered healthcare providers need access to a patient’s records, in order to provide the care the patient wants.

Consumer, Melissa Williams, said, “My husband is an athlete who competes across the country but while he is fit, he is also completely blind so it is difficult for him to track his healthcare documents. Storing our Advanced Care Plans in our My Health Records gives us peace of mind that our future health care wishes will be respected.”

‘When a sudden medical event occurs, access to a person’s documented health care preferences is imperative. We’ve heard desperate stories of loved ones frantically trying to access ACDs from solicitor’s offices, personal laptops and even locked safes. If you’ve gone to the trouble of documenting your preferences, make sure you take that critical extra step of uploading your ACD to My Health Record,” explained Linda Nolte, Program Director of Advance Care Planning Australia, the organisation that runs National Advance Care Planning Week.

Find more information about uploading your advance care plan to My Health Record

Find more information about National Advance Care Planning Week.


Key facts

  • Almost 50% of people will not be able to make their own end-of-life medical decisions[1].
  • Less than 15% of Australians have documented their preferences in an Advance Care Directive[2] (ACD). (30% of people aged 65+ have an ACD)[3]
  • A third of Australians will die before the age of 75[4].
  • Most people die after a chronic illness, not a sudden event[3].
  • Research shows that advance care planning can reduce anxiety, depression and stress experienced by families and that they’re more likely to be satisfied with their loved one’s care[5].

About Advance Care Planning Australia

Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA) is a national program funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health, enabling Australians to make the best choices for their life and health care.ACPA increases advance care planning resources across health sectors and NGOs, improves workforce capability, produces information resources for diverse consumers and communities, and builds the evidence base.

About the Australian Digital Health Agency

The Agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems, and implementing Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia in collaboration with partners across the community. The Agency is the System Operator of My Health Record, and provides leadership, coordination, and delivery of a collaborative and innovative approach to utilising technology to support and enhance a clinically safe and connected national health system. These improvements will give individuals more control of their health and their health information, and support healthcare providers to deliver informed healthcare through access to current clinical and treatment information.

Media enquiries for Advance Care Planning Australia

Rebecca Camilleri │ rebecca.camilleri [at] │ phone: 0407 832 093

Media enquiries for My Health Record

Australian Digital Health Agency media team │ media [at] │ phone: 0428 772 421


[1] Silveira MJ, Kim SY and Langa KM. Advance directives and outcomes of surrogate decision making before death. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010; 362: 1211-8.

[2] White B, Tilse C, Wilson J, et al. Prevalence and predictors of advance directives in Australia. Internal medicine journal. 2014; 44: 975-80.

[3] Detering K, Buck K et al. Prevalence and correlates of advance care directives among older Australians accessing health and residential aged care services: multicentre audit study

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics. Deaths, Australia, 2016. Available at (last accessed 17 April 2018).

[5] Detering KM, Hancock AD, Reade MC and Silvester W. The impact of advance care planning on end of life care in elderly patients: randomised controlled trial. Bmj. 2010; 340: c1345.