PDF 675 KB
Information about the processes and safeguards in place to access voluntary assisted dying in South Australia.
To be eligible to access voluntary assisted dying you must be assessed by both a Coordinating Medical Practitioner and Consulting Medical Practitioner as meeting all of the criteria listed below:
Voluntary assisted dying is not available in South Australia to a person living with a mental health condition or disability, without this person also being diagnosed with a terminal illness that meets the necessary criteria outlined above.
You can only start the formal process to seek voluntary assisted dying when you are an adult. You may be asked to provide proof of age by providing any of the below documents:
If you are under 18, you may like to discuss your end of life treatment and care options with:
You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to access voluntary assisted dying.
You will be asked to show proof of your citizenship or permanent residency during the assessment process. You can do this by providing any of the below documents:
If you were born in Australia on or after 20 August 1986 and do not have an Australian passport that meets the above criteria, contact the Australian Passport Office to confirm what documents you need to provide to prove you are an Australian citizen.
You can verify that you are an Australian permanent resident by providing both the below documents:
Online verification of your permanent resident visa through Department of Home Affairs can be completed by either:
To access voluntary assisted dying, you must:
You can demonstrate that you live in South Australia and have lived in South Australia for 12 months at the time of making a first request by providing any of the below documents:
Whether you live in South Australia and have lived in South Australia for 12 months at the time of making a first request is a decision reviewable by SACAT.
You have decision making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying if you are able to:
Decision making capacity is assessed at multiple points in the Voluntary Assisted Dying Pathway including:
Decision making capacity may also be assessed at other stages of the pathway if a health practitioner involved in your care expresses concern to the Coordinating Medical Practitioner that you have lost decision making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying.
All people, including those with a mental illness or disability, are presumed to have decision making capacity, including in relation to voluntary assisted dying, unless there is evidence otherwise.
Someone who is at the end of life may experience depression, a loss of hope and suffering. Having depression does not necessarily mean that someone does not have decision making capacity in relation to voluntary assisted dying. If a medical practitioner assesses that you have depression, they should explore how this is may be affecting your decision making capacity and offer treatment or a specialist opinion if required.
A person may have a communication barrier that affects their ability to be understood by others. For example, someone may have a communication disability, or would prefer or needs to communicate in a language other than English.
Having a communication barrier does not mean that a person does not have decision making capacity.
The Act allows a person to communicate their request to access voluntary assisted dying through speech, gestures or other practical and appropriate techniques, including:
A medical practitioner must be satisfied that your circumstances meet all the below criteria throughout the Voluntary Assisted Dying Pathway: `
A medical practitioner may talk to you on your own and discuss:
Questions medical practitioners could ask you include:
A medical practitioner may also observe the dynamics between you and your carer or family. If appropriate and you consent, your medical practitioner may undertake discussions with your carers or family members to explore how they feel about your decision. It may also be appropriate for your medical practitioner to ask other members of your healthcare team if they have made any observations about your motivations for the decision.
If you are assessed as eligible for access to voluntary assisted dying, you will be required to make a written request to access voluntary assisted dying.
The written declaration must specify that you make the declaration voluntarily and without coercion and understand the nature and the effect of the declaration you are making.
The written declaration must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses and the Coordinating Medical Practitioner. If you are unable to sign yourself, that this can be done by another person on your behalf, in your presence.
You must be diagnosed with a disease, illness or medical condition that meets all of the conditions listed below:
If your medical practitioner is able to determine that you have a neurodegenerative condition that will cause death within six to 12 months, they must refer you to a medical practitioner with appropriate skills and training to provide a specialist opinion.
The advanced disease must be causing you suffering that cannot be relieved in a way that is acceptable to you. People experience suffering in different and personal ways.
It may be appropriate for a medical practitioner to discuss your options for treatment and care to alleviate suffering, for example referral to palliative care services, home medicines review, or support through services such as My Aged Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.