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Substitute Decision-Makers

Read these guidelines before you agree to be appointed as a Substitute Decision-Maker.

By signing the Advance Care Directive Form you are stating that you agree to be the person’s Substitute Decision-Maker and that you understand your role and responsibilities.

Before you sign, make sure you understand what types of decisions you will be able to make and how the person wants you to make those decisions for them.

After you are appointed you should keep a certified copy of the completed, signed Advance Care Directive where you can easily find it.

You should try to have regular discussions with the person in case circumstances change for them.

What is an advance care directive substitute decision maker?

What is the role of a Substitute Decision-Maker?

As a Substitute Decision-Maker you must try to make a decision you believe the person would have made for themselves in the same situation.

As a Substitute Decision-Maker you can make all the decisions the person wanted you to make, but you cannot:

  • Make a decision which would be illegal, such as requesting voluntary euthanasia.
  • Refuse food and water to be given to them by mouth.
  • Refuse medicine for pain or distress (for example palliative care).
  • Make legal or financial decisions (unless you have also been appointed as an Enduring Power of Attorney for financial matters).

When contacted and asked to make a decision, you must:

  • Support that person to make their own decision if they are able to.
  • Produce an original or certified copy of the person’s Advance Care Directive Form or advise if it can be accessed in an electronic record.
  • Only make decisions which you have been appointed to make under Part 2b Conditions of Appointment.
  • Try to contact any other Substitute Decision-Maker appointed to make the same types of decisions as you.
  • Only make a decision on your own if no other Substitute Decision-Maker with the same decision-making responsibility as you can be contacted, or the decision is urgent.
  • Inform any other Substitute Decision-Maker(s) of the decisions you make.
  • Try to make a decision you believe the person would have made in the same circumstance.
     

You can make your own decisions if you can:

  • ​Understand information about the decision

  • Understand and appreciate the risks and benefits of the choices

  • Remember the inforrmation for a short time

  • Tell someone what the information is and why you have made that decision.

    If in the future you are unable to do these four (4) things, it means you are unable to make the decision and will need someone else to make the decision for you. 
     

Supporting a person to make their own decision fact-sheet
 

Decision-making capacity fact-sheet