Old Victorian Medical POAs are gone – we have medical directives
On 12 March 2018, the Medical Treatment Planning Act 2016 comes into force.
From that date onwards you can no longer build the Enduring power of attorney (medical treatment) on our website. Instead, from that date, you prepare:
2. appoint a medical treatment decision maker (such as your spouse and then children)
Your ‘medical treatment decision maker’ (what a mouthful) makes the decision they believe is the decision you would have made. To do this, they consider (in this order):
1. the legally binding directive about the future treatment you want – or don’t want
2. a general set of ‘values’ stating your preferences for future medical treatment
Any Enduring power of attorney (medical treatment) made before 12 March 2018 remains valid. THEY DON’T NEED TO BE REDONE.
There is no need for legal documents made before 12 March 2018 to be redone.
After 12 March 2018 build the new advance care directive here.
Are the new rules improvement?
Sadly the Victorian government has been tricked into believing that by setting out exactly what you want gives you more power.
‘If I get my third stroke and can’t eat or use the toilet then do not resuscitate.’
Years later your wife suffers her third stroke. You show page 243 of your wife’s care directive to the medical specialist. The specialist looks at you blankly and states:
‘I have no idea what you mean by the word ‘stroke’. I am not going to waste my time trying to piece together that diatribe of words in your wife’s directive.’
A ‘directive’ means your preferences must be followed by law – even if medical science has dramatically changed.
What about children?
Victoria’s Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 allows children to make advance directives. This is a world first. In the Netherlands, children from 12 can make advance decisions requesting euthanasia – but this is only with their parents’ consent. In certain USA states, advance directives in palliative care do not have the force of law.
However, in the State of Victoria, there is no minimum age limit. Anyone can set out a directive if they understand the nature of the treatment they are making decisions about and the potential outcomes if the advance care directive is followed. As a parent, I find this approach sickening.
What about the Victorian financial EPA?
Build your Victorian Enduring Power of Attorney here. It deals with financial matters.
Build the new Victorian Medical Power of Attorney here.
For help building either document on our website please telephone us.
Adjunct Professor, Dr Brett Davies, CTA, AIAMA, BJuris, LLB, LLM, MBA, SJD
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