Advance Care Directives Act 2013
July 1st 2014 marks the commencement of the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 and associated amendments to the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 (Consent Act) and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1993 (GA Act).
The ACD Act simplifies how we can plan for our future. It provides a single document to record our wishes and preferences about how we live our lives instead of having three different documents: The former Enduring Power of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Direction. Existing Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Anticipatory Directions made before 1 July 2014 are still valid and will be treated as if they were made under the new legislation. More information about Advance Care Directives can be found at www.advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au
Changes to the Consent Act mean that a broader range of people are able to provide substitute consent for someone close to them who has impaired decision making capacity. Those who are able to consent are called a ‘Person Responsible’ and the criteria is outlined in Section 14 of the Consent Act. More information about this can be found on the OPA Information Sheet 9 and SA Health fact sheet: Changes to Consent.
The ACD Act and the Consent Act both make significant changes about how disputes about an advance care directive or a health issue are resolved by conferring a dispute resolution role on the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) . Some matters that would have previously gone directly to the Guardianship Board for a hearing will now come to the OPA for advice and assistance or mediation in the first instance. The OPA has developed a Dispute Resolution Service by expanding its Information and Advisory Service, and developing rights-based mediation and declaration models. More information on these services can be found on OPA Information Sheets 27 Dispute Resolution Service and Information Sheets: 26 Mediation.