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Principles in the Act

The Advance Care Directives Act 2013 s 10 sets out the following principles that must be taken into account in relation to the ‘administration, operation and enforcement’ of the Act and the resolution of disputes under the Act:

  • an advance care directive enables a competent adult to make decisions about his or her future health care, residential and accommodation arrangements and personal affairs either by stating their own wishes and instructions or through 1 or more substitute decision-makers
  • a competent adult can decide what constitutes quality of life for him or her and can express that in advance in an advance care directive
  • a person is, in the absence of evidence or a law of the State to the contrary, to be presumed to have full decision-making capacity in respect of decisions about his or her health care, residential and accommodation arrangements and personal affairs
  • a person must be allowed to make their own decisions about their health care, residential and accommodation arrangements and personal affairs to the extent that they are able, and be supported to enable them to make such decisions for as long as they can
  • a person can exercise their autonomy by making self-determined decisions, delegating decision making to others, making collaborative decisions within a family or community, or a combination of any of these, according to a person's culture, background, history, spiritual or religious beliefs
  • subject to this Act, an advance care directive, and each substitute decision-maker appointed under an advance care directive, has the same authority as the person who gave the advance care directive had when he or she had full decision-making capacity
  • a decision made by a person on behalf of another in accordance with this Act:
    • must, as far as is reasonably practicable, reflect the decision that the person would have made in the circumstances; and
    • must, in the absence of any specific instructions or expressed views of the person, be consistent with the proper care of the person and the protection of his or her interests; and
    • must not, as far as is reasonably practicable, restrict the basic rights and freedoms of the person;
  • in the event of a dispute arising in relation to an advance care directive, the wishes (whether expressed or implied) of the person who gave the advance care directive are of paramount importance and should, insofar as is reasonably practicable, be given effect
  • subject to this Act, in determining the wishes of a person who gave an advance care directive in relation to a particular matter, consideration may be given to:
    • any past wishes expressed by the person in relation to the matter; and
    • the person's values as displayed or expressed during the whole or any part of his or her life; and
    • any other matter that is relevant in determining the wishes of the person in relation to the matter.
Principles in the Act  :  Last Revised: Thu Jul 3rd 2014
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