What doctors should know about changes to advance care planning laws

New directives on advance care plans come into effect in Victoria this week.

If a person lacks decision-making capacity and is in need of medical treatment (other than emergency treatment), a health practitioner must first make reasonable efforts to locate the person’s advance care directive (ACD) and/or substitute decision maker (referred to in the legislation  as the “medical treatment decision maker”) before administering the proposed treatment. In the absence of both, a separate process applies that may involve obtaining consent from the Public Advocate before administering