For Families & Patients

Palliative care supports people with a life-limiting illness and their families to live, die and grieve well.
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Refusal of treatment

Every adult who can make their own decisions can accept or refuse health care or treatment. There may be a time in your illness when you want to refuse treatment – for example, if it makes you feel very unwell.

What treatment can I refuse?

You can refuse most medical treatment. This includes surgery, drug therapy, blood transfusions and radiotherapy. You can also refuse treatments such as resuscitation, breathing machines and being fed through a tube.

What treatment can't I refuse?

In Victoria, food and drink to be taken by mouth can be offered to you, but you don’t have to accept it. You will also be offered relief from pain and discomfort.

How do I refuse treatment?

Adults who can make their own decisions can refuse medical treatment for a current condition. Their refusal must be given freely and it must be specific.

If the person is unable to make their own decisions, their Guardian or Medical Power of Attorney can refuse treatment for them, based on an understanding of their wishes and what is in their best interests.

Currently in Victoria, this refusal can only be given for current health conditions, not conditions that may occur in the future.

A Refusal of Medical Treatment Certificate must be signed by the person making the decision, a registered doctor and another person who is a witness. It is a good idea to give copies to all health care professionals involved in the person’s care.

You can download the forms below: