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Cover image for: Advance Care Directives
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Provider Number PO342.

CPD1h 5m of CPD
Total Rating(s)159
First Published
Updated28 January 2019
Expires 09 February 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

159 Total Rating(s)
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Valerie Forsyth
29 Jan 2020

The subject matter was relevant & comprehensive.

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Tracey J Thomson
29 Jan 2020

Excellent resource. Valuable comparing different requirements in the Australian states.

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Dorothy Mogendi
28 Jan 2020

Very good

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Denise Bingley
28 Jan 2020

Very good information which highlighted the different legislation requirements within states and territories

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Andrew Markula
28 Jan 2020

Very good.

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Lucinda Mead
28 Jan 2020

good memory refresher of ACD and the state laws and regulations we are required to follow

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Manjit Kaur
28 Jan 2020

Legal formalities for safe environment

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Valmai Hartmann
27 Jan 2020

Very informative and well presented. I would recommend this for all nurses to read.

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Annette Auliciems
21 Jan 2020

Interesting. I wasn't aware of the differences between States even in the terminology used.

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janice Smeaton
10 Jan 2020

Well presented although obviously due to no Australian standard the differences in state by state requirements a bit confusing