If you are 18 years or more, you can 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 where and with whom you live.
An attorney appointed for personal matters does not have the power to consent to or refuse medical treatment – this may only be done by your Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
You can place conditions on, and provide instructions about, the exercise of the power by your attorney/s.
Medical Treatment Decision Maker
You can appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker to make decisions about medical treatment on your behalf, if you are no longer able to make your own decisions.
The person you appoint can give consent to, or 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 if your appointed Medical Treatment Decision Maker is unable or unavailable to make decisions about your medical treatment when needed.
Your Medical Treatment Decision Maker can refuse all medical treatment on your behalf, if this is what you would want. Medical treatment does not include offering water and food by mouth, which you may not accept, or palliative care to relieve pain and suffering.