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Cover image for: Advance Care Directives
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The Ausmed Education Learning Centre is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Provider number is P0342.

CPD1h 5m of CPD
Total Rating(s)145
First Published
Updated28 January 2019
Expires 28 January 2020
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia

Course Overview

All competent adults have a right to decide what medical treatment they would refuse if they lose capacity to make decisions in the future. This Course looks at the increasing trend to have future refusals of treatment recorded in legally binding documents known as Advance Care Directives (ACDs).

  • What is an Advanced Care Directive?
  • Requirements for a valid Advanced Care Directive
  • Substitute decision making
  • Case law and Advanced Care Directives

All adults have the right to make decisions about their own body. This includes the right to consent and to refuse treatment – even if the refusal of treatment will cause their death.

The right to refuse treatment in advance has also been upheld by the common law. There is a growing trend to have future refusals of treatment recorded in legally binding documents such as an ‘Advance Directive’ or ‘Living Will’.

Therefore, it is imperative that all health practitioners understand what constitutes a valid refusal of treatment through these written instructions to meet their common law and professional obligations when providing care for their clients.


The purpose of this Course is to enable learners to gain a better understanding of the legal framework that supports a competent adult to make decisions about advanced care directives.

Learning Outcomes
  • State the purpose of an Advance Care Directive
  • Identify the legal requirements of a valid Advance Care Directive
  • Describe common dilemmas associated with refusal of treatment instructions
Target Audience

This Course is relevant to all registered nurses and other health professionals working in all contexts of adult health care.


No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.


Portrait of Linda Starr
Linda Starr

Dr Linda Starr has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in general, mental health nursing, law, education and a PhD in legal issues in elder abuse. Linda has extensive experience as an RN in metropolitan and rural locations, in general nursing, mental health, forensic health, aged care and management. She has held senior positions in academia, including the dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Linda has publications in health law and forensic health issues. Linda is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and a consultant educator in health law and ethics for nurses, midwives and carers. She is chair of the SA Board of Nursing and Midwifery, fellow of the College of Nursing Australia, foundation president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association, member on the School of Health Academic Advisory Board for Open Colleges and the international member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing. See Educator Profile

Learner Reviews

145 Total Rating(s)
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Mandeep kaur Jhajj
12 Nov 2019

Quite interesting when listen to different scenarios and based on their religion, they refused life saving treatments but for a husband or new born baby, how someone would not take decision to save a mother. It can be really difficult I believe for medical officers sometimes but at the end of the day, it is about respecting ones decisions and choices regarding own lives.

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Trevor Mason
25 Oct 2019

There was a lot of information to process here and I can see that there needs to be a national coordinated approach to have ACD's recorded and available to health care professionals nationwide. I am a big fan of Linda Starr's lectures and this was no exception

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matthew wilkinson
20 Oct 2019

Could have been presented more clearly

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Taryn Mildenhall
03 Oct 2019

Brief review of a complex topic

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Julie McLean
02 Oct 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed updating my knowledge of the correct way to complete an Advanced care directive noting changes the need to occur when formatting new plans in the future . I will also use this knowledge to educate staff , patients and their families .. and Doctors if this is required to ensure the persons wishes are respected and carried through .

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Laura Spilstead
02 Oct 2019

Informative but I found the presenter a little difficult to engage with

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Angela Tomaras
21 Sep 2019


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Mia Ruggieri
16 Sep 2019

Exceptional content - and very bareable to listen to

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Trudi Copland-Reid
06 Sep 2019

Very good explanation of a complex topic.

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David Mangan
02 Sep 2019

Excellent overview of this important part of individual health care.