Advance care planning

If you were very sick and could not talk, how would your doctor know what treatment you want? Who will talk for you?

As a Peter Mac patient, you will need to make many decisions about your treatment and healthcare.

But if you were very sick and could not talk, how would your doctor know what treatment you want? Who will talk for you? How will they know what medical decisions to make for you and how will they know what is important to you and make sure your choices are respected?

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning (ACP) means to think, plan and write down your wishes for your future healthcare. To predict what will happen to each of us and make decisions about the future is hard, and this is true for both patients and doctors! Sharing your values, wishes and choices with your loved ones and your doctors helps them to respect your choices. From the time of diagnosis, it is important to think about ACP.

Why is ACP important?

Writing down your values and choices is a good way to let people know what is most important to you.

There are two main types of forms at Peter Mac available to record your choices:

If you need help filling out the forms please let our staff know.

Remember you should give a copy of your completed form to your "agent" or substitute decision-maker, your loved ones, your doctors, your community palliative care team, any hospital you usually attend and your lawyer if you have one.

The Office of the Public Advocate’s Enduring Power of Attorney-Medical Treatment (MEPoA) form

The MEPoA form is a legal document where you write down who you want to act as your agent, also known as substitute decision-maker. You can only have one agent, and an alternate agent if the first agent is not available. Your MEPoA agent will make decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions. You can complete a new form if you change your mind. The MEPoA’s decision-making power comes into force only if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

For more information visit:

Peter Mac’s ‘Statement of Choices’

Peter Mac has a'Statement of Choices' form available. The Statement of Choices form asks you questions about your values, beliefs and healthcare preferences.

Please ask for a blank Statement of Choices form to look at. You can fill in this form to ensure your current beliefs, values and choices are respected at all times. When completed, let one of your healthcare team know and they will place a copy in your medical record.

A guide to advance care planning

Appoint someone to act as your agent or substitute decision-maker

Your agent or substitute decision-maker is a person you trust to make decisions for you if you are unable to. This person will represent the choices and values you have shared with them. If you do not have an agent (or "MEPoA"), you can informally nominate someone to act for you.

Chat and communicate

Think and talk about your quality of life and what is important if you became seriously unwell. Chat to your doctors and loved ones about what you would want and not want. Let them know what is important to you.

Ask your doctor and nurse about different treatment options and discuss those treatments you might want or not want.

Talk about your cancer and what it might mean in the future.

Put it on paper

You might want to use the Statement of Choices to write down what is important to you such as treatment(s) you would want or not want.

Where can I get more advice about my advance care plan?

Speak to your treating team or social worker for help with advance care planning. If you have any queries about Advance Care Planning, you can email [email protected]

Our Advance Care Planning Brochure is available in a number of languages. Visit our interpreter services page to access these resources.

Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016

The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016 passed the Parliament on 24 November 2016, enshrining advance care directives in law. The changes will be implemented on 12th March 2018.

There will be a number of changes as a result, and further communications will come out soon.

This establishes a single framework for medical treatment decision making for people without decision making capacity, that ensures that people receive medical treatment that is consistent with their preferences and values.

Victorians will be able to create a legally binding advance care directive that will allow them to:

  • Make an instructional directive (which will provide specific directives about treatment a person consents to or refuses).
  • Make a values directive (which will describe a person's views and values. A medical treatment decision maker and health practitioners will be required to give effect to a values directive).
  • Appoint a medical treatment decision maker (who will make decisions on behalf of a person when they no longer have decision making capacity).
  • Appoint a support person (who will assist a person to make decisions for themselves, by collecting and interpreting information or assisting the person to communicate their decisions).

There will be a stronger obligation for health professionals and health services to ask patients about advance care planning and advance directives.

Keep an eye on this page for more information.