You have finished writing your Advance Care Directive and it is all signed and witnessed. It is important that others know you have written an Advance Care Directive and where to find it, especially in an emergency.

Remember:

  • Keep your original Advance Care Directive in a place where you and others can find it easily.
  • Write down where you have kept it so you do not forget.
  • Your Advance Care Directive is a personal document, but it is not private.
  • Do not keep your Advance Care Directive with your Will – people will only look at your Will after you die. You want people to know your wishes before you die.

You should:

  • Have multiple certified copies made.
  • Give a certified copy to your Substitute Decision Makers.
  • Give certified copies to those who care about you and care for you, such as your family, close friends, doctor and any other health practitioner, hospital or health facility you regularly visit.
  • Take a certified copy with you if you go to a hospital, hospice or aged care facility, or if you travel interstate or overseas.
  • Put a note on your fridge or notice board about the location of your Advance Care Directive and the name and contact details of your Substitute Decision Makers (if you have any).
  • Complete the wallet card (PDF 112KB) and put it in your wallet or purse.
  • Provide details of where your Advance Care Directive is located in an Emergency Medical Infomation Book.

In the future, your Advance Care Directive may be uploaded onto an electronic medical record at your local hospital, aged care facility, GP office or onto your Electronic Health Record.

Review your Advance Care Directive often. Life is full of changes and if you become sick or your circumstances or those of your Substitute Decision Maker(s) change, you may want to review and make a new Advance Care Directive if you are still able to do so.

Your wishes should be followed by your Substitute Decision Maker, Person Responsible, health practitioner and others if it is possible to do so. It may not be possible because of available services or your financial situation.

Making certified copies of my Advance Care Directive

An authorised witness can help you make certified copies of your Advance Care Directive at the same time as they witness your original Advance Care Directive form.

This will be important so that you can give your Substitute Decision Makers, others close to you, your doctor or other health practitioners, a certified copy of your Advance Care Directive.

Any person from the authorised witness list can certify copies for you at a later time. The person you ask to certify copies of your Advance Care Directive does not have to be independent of you.

When your Advance Care Directive is completed and signed by you, your Substitute Decision-Maker (if you have any), and your witness (and interpreter if you have used one), you can make photocopies of your Advance Care Directive. The witness can certify all copies as a true copy of the original.

To certify copies, your authorised witness will need to:

  • Sight the original Advance Care Directive and check that the copy to be certified is an identical copy of the original.
  • You will need to stamp or write a certification statement on the front of the Advance Care Directive form. You may want to use this suggested wording:
    “ I, (insert your name), (occupation) certify this and the following…(insert number of pages) pages to be a true copy of the original as sighted by me”
  • Sign your name to complete the certification statement and initial each page of the Advance Care Directive form.
  • Give the original back to the person.

To make decisions for you, your Substitute Decision Maker must show your doctors, health practitioners or aged care staff an original or certified copy of your Advance Care Directive. This will prove that they have the authority to make these decisions for you when you are unable to make your own.