For Families & Patients

Palliative care supports people with a life-limiting illness and their families to live, die and grieve well.
Back to Wishes and plans

Appoint decision-makers

If you are 18 years or more, appoint another person to make decisions for you if you are no longer able to make your own decisions.Choose a person who knows you well and you trust to make decisions based on your wishes and best interests. This can help to avoid conflict between family members and healthcare professionals.

The law varies depending on where you live in Australia. In Victoria, you can appoint two kinds of decision-makers.

Enduring Power of Attorney

When you are no longer able to make decisions yourself, you can appoint one or more persons as an Enduring Power of Attorney to make decisions on your behalf. You can decide what kinds of decisions your attorney/s can make on your behalf, including:

  • Financial and/or property matters
  • Personal and/or lifestyle affairs – for example your health care (including consent to medical treatment) access to support services and where and with whom you live. However, an attorney appointed for personal matters does not have the power to refuse medical treatment – this may only be done by your Medical Enduring Power of Attorney.

You can place conditions on, and provide instructions about, the exercise of the power by your attorney/s.

Medical Enduring Power of Attorney

You can appoint a Medical Power of Attorney to make decisions about medical treatment on your behalf, if you are no longer able to make your own decisions.

This person, your ‘medical agent’, can refuse medical treatment for you based on their understanding of your wishes. Appoint someone you trust to respect and carry out your wishes. You can appoint a second person as an alternative agent if your medical agent is unable to make decisions for you.

Your medical agent can refuse all medical treatment on your behalf. Medical treatment does not include offering water and food by mouth, which you may not accept, or palliative care to relieve pain and suffering.