Advance Care Directive

Your wishes for future care

An Advance Care Directive is an important step forward in planning for future health care, preferred living arrangements and other personal matters. It replaces the existing Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Directions with a single Advance Care Directive Form. If you have previously completed one of these documents they will continue to have legal effect unless you complete a new Advance Care Directive which will replace your old documents.

For more information please read the Advance Care Directive information brochure (PDF 315KB) or visit the Advance Care Directive website. Translated brochures and information are also available in 15 different languages.

What will it allow me to do?

The new Advance Care Directive allows you to:

  • write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters
  • appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make them for yourself.

Why should I have one?

It will give you peace of mind that those caring for you will know what you want when you are unable to make your own decisions or communicate your wishes and values. This could be for a number of reasons including:

  • an accident or mental health episode
  • dementia or a similar condition such as a brain injury
  • a sudden or serious stroke or
  • because you are unconscious or in a coma.

This can happen at any stage of life. If it did, how would you want decisions to be made for you about your ongoing health care, living arrangements and other personal matters? And who would you want to make these decisions for you?

View the educational video about Advance Care Directives and Resuscitation Planning below.

Where to get an Advance Care Directive Form and Kit

There are several ways to get the Advance Care Directive Form and DIY Kit:

  • The Advance Care Directive Form and DIY Kit can be downloaded from the Advance Care Directives website for free. You can also complete your Advance Care Directive online using the online form process.
  • The Form and Kit can also be purchased from:

If English is your second language, an information statement and brochure is available in 15 languages.

When attending an SA Health service

If you're attending an SA Health service please bring your original Advance Care Directive or a certified copy (PDF 58KB) with you. You will be asked by SA Health staff if you have an Advance Care Directive, Substitute Decision-Maker or Person Responsible when you are a patient at an SA Health hospital. Information on Substitute Decision-Makers and Person Responsible can be found in the Help Us Help You flyer (PDF 115KB).

What to know if you are a substitute decision maker

The Decision-making pathway for substitute decision makers (PDF 539KB) is a guide for those who are making decisions for a person who has given an Advance Care Directive. This guide includes:

  • how to work out if the person is able to make a decision
  • steps on how to make appropriate health care decisions
  • steps on how to make appropriate living arrangements and other personal decisions

Are Advance Care Directives working for you?

The operation of the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 was reviewed by independent Professor Wendy Lacey to ensure that the Act is working well for South Australians, and consultation closed on Friday 24 May 2019. We thank everyone who contributed, and Professor Lacey's independent Report on the Review of the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 (SA) (PDF 1MB) is now available.

The State Government's response (PDF 135KB) to the independent Report was tabled in Parliament on 23 July 2020.

Health professionals

For health professionals, please visit the Advance Care Directives for health professionals page for more information.

For more information

The Advance Care Directive website has additional information, fact sheets, resources and links to help you complete your own Advance Care Directive Form. 

The Legal Services Commission can give you advice and witness your Advance Care Directive Form. Phone 1300 366 424 or visit the Legal Services Commission website.

For more information about planning ahead for your future finances, Wills and/or organ donation, visit the Planning Ahead web page.