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At STOLaw, we provide legal advice in most areas of law. We have a large, experienced team of lawyers who will listen to you and help you with your case.

Advance Health Directives

If you become seriously ill or lose your mental capacity, you will be unable to communicate your health care decisions.

An Advance Health Directive allows you to plan what medical treatment or health care receive in the event that you cannot make decisions yourself. An Advance Health Directive also enables you to appoint an attorney for health matters if you wish.

You should carry a card with you stating that you have an Advance Health Directive, and medical staff can refer to the document when needed. You should give copies of your Advance Health Directive to your doctor and family members.

Information to include in your Advance Health Directive

If you do not have an Advance Health Directive and become so ill you cannot make decisions or speak for yourself, you have no legal way of making your wishes known about health matters.

By preparing an Advance Health Directive you can specify what treatment you receive or importantly, don't receive.

You can express your wishes in a general way. For example, you can state:

  • particular treatment you do not want;
  • special medical conditions that medical staff should know about (such as diabetes or allergies to certain medications); and
  • religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your treatment (such as if you have particular views about receiving a blood transfusion). 

Life-sustaining measures

You can give specific instructions about the withdrawing of life-sustaining measures in circumstances where:

  • you have a terminal illness;
  • you are in a persistent vegetative state; or
  • you are permanently unconscious.

Examples of life-sustaining measures include:

  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation to keep your heart beating 
  • assisted ventilation to keep you breathing 
  • being fed food and water through a tube directly into the stomach. 

If you would like more information about putting an Advance Health Directive in place please contact Cec O'Dea or contact us here.

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