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What is a Medical Treatment Decision Maker?
A Medical Treatment Decision Maker is a person that you have appointed to make medical decisions on your behalf when you’re not able to. They will be able to make life or death decisions, from what treatments doctors can do to whether to keep you on life support. Think of it like your medical power of attorney, although they can’t make any decisions about your estate. They should also take into account any wishes that you’ve outlined in your Advance Care Directive.
In Victoria, there is a specific document that must be completed to appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker. While you can do this yourself, it’s recommended that you speak to both a medical practitioner and a lawyer first, to make sure that you understand your options and what it involves. Our estate lawyers are located in Melbourne and Ballarat and can explain how to appoint your Medical Treatment Decision Maker and what the process involves.
What is an Advance Care Directive?
An Advance Care Directive outlines what your wishes are when it comes to your medical treatment. This can include a wide range of things from whether you want to be put on a ventilator to whether you’d like to receive palliative care at home or in a hospital.
This document is both an instructional directive of your medical wishes and a values directive that outlines what you believe and how that should translate into your medical care. For example, you can outline what quality of life you’re happy with or what religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs need to be taken into account when making decisions about your care.
An Advance Care Directive is like a special power of attorney. It differs from a normal POA because it doesn’t outline your wishes about your finances or property, it focuses solely on how you want to be cared for when you’re ill or incapacitated.
There are many important things to consider when writing your Advance Care Directive. Our lawyers are based in Melbourne and Ballarat and will take the time to explain what you need to consider when drafting your document.
Key considerations when appointing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker
A Medical Treatment Decision Maker is a very important and serious job. While they won’t be able to make decisions about your estate unless they also have power of attorney, their decisions will be about your medical treatment and healthcare. There are several things you should consider when choosing who want to appoint. These include:
- Do you trust this person to make life and death decisions about you?
- How well do they know you and your values?
- Do you believe they will respect your wishes as outlined in your Advance Care Directive?
- Do they have a vested interest in your estate or financial matters that may cloud their judgement?
- Will they be able to make difficult decisions about your medical treatment?
- Will they be available to make decisions when they need to?