1h 5m

Advance Care Directives

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).

28 Jan 2018

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



This learning was helpful reminder and new learning for what the recent laws are for Australia. It was well organized, and appreciated the examples. -- 19 Mar 2018
This is a very new and relevant area that needs to be addressed before being put into care so we can better look after the whole person as well as religious and spiritual beliefs with end of life care with dignity and respect. -- 03 Mar 2018
Informative and helpful. Thanks :) -- 27 Feb 2018
Great resource -- 09 Feb 2018
I would encourage everyone to plan for the future just for when accident happens, at least a plan is in place -- 08 Feb 2018
I would recommend this education to other health professionals -- 08 Feb 2018
I thought the content was well paced and scaffolded. The case studies bought the content to life which makes them more real and therefore easier to make the connection between the content and reality. I would definitely recommend this to others. -- 04 Feb 2018
well presented -- 30 Jan 2018
great and infornative -- 26 Jan 2018
Very informative -- 26 Jan 2018
What a great resource! -- 20 Jan 2018
This resource filled all the requirements that i have to learn more re Advanced care Directives. It was easy to listen to and to take notes. It is great that i can access my CPD points this way. Thank you. -- 20 Jan 2018
I can recommend this to all health professionals Dr Starr is engaging and has good delivery. I would indeed like to spend more time with her Thank you Gillian -- 18 Jan 2018
A very informative resource with relevant and up to date information which will enable me to approach the advanced care directive choices with confidence and the feeling that my resident's wishes are being met. -- 17 Jan 2018
Thank you, this session has delivered useful information which will be used in the delivery of patient care -- 29 Nov 2017
The educator was engaging, she explained the issues clearly. I would recommend this education to other health professionals, a very interesting presentation -- 28 Nov 2017
This was informative -- 16 Nov 2017

Course Overview

Topics include:

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

Target audience

All health professionals working in all contexts of adult health care.


Gain a better understanding of the legal framework that supports a competent adult to make decisions about health care they would be prepared to accept or refuse at some time in the future, should they lose capacity to make these decisions at the time.


All adults have the right to make decisions about their own body. This includes the right to consent and to refuse treatment – even if 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’. For this document to be valid an individual who has done so freely must create it and have the legal competence to do so. Should health practitioners ignore these instructions or provide treatment that is contrary to a person’s wishes they could leave themselves open to civil and perhaps even criminal prosecution. However, it is also important to understand the legal requirements of a valid document including the absence of ambiguity, completeness, witnessing by an appropriate witness and what key terms mean to enable the health practitioner to determine if the document has any defects that would make implementing the patient’s wishes difficult. 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.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.