Frequently Asked Questions About Advance Care Plans

Advance Care Plans

What is an Advance Care Plan?

An Advance Care Plan is your way of communicating to both your loved ones and doctors (if you cannot physically), what medical treatment you do and do not want to receive towards the end of your life.

It is not a will and it doesn’t talk about funeral or burial arrangements. It is however, subject to some of the same considerations as a will, such as needing to be clearly dated, completed without coercion and by a person in a state of full mental competency.

When is an Advance Care Plan used?

An Advance Care Plan only comes into effect when you are unable to make or voice your own decisions in regards to any medical treatment that may be used to sustain your life. It allows doctors and family members to ensure any treatment you receive respects your personal beliefs and wishes.

How is an Advance Care Plan different to a Living Will?

An Advance Care Plan is just another name for a Living Will. It can also be called an Advance Care Directive, Advance Health Plan or Statement of Choice depending on your Country or State.

In essence, they are all a way of communicating to both your loved ones and doctors (if you cannot physically), what medical treatment you do and do not want to receive towards the end of your life.

Is an Advance Care Plan different from an Advance Care Directive?

An Advance Care Plan is just another name for an Advance Care Directive. They can also be called a Living Will, Advance Health Plan or Statement of Choice depending on your Country or State.

In essence, they are all a way of communicating to both your loved ones and doctors (if you cannot physically), what medical treatment you do and do not want to receive towards the end of your life.

Does it include Power of Attorney and / or Enduring Guardianship?

No. An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document where you appoint someone you trust to manage your assets and financial affairs if you are unable to do so due to illness, an accident or your absence. This is different to Power of Attorney which becomes null and void if you lose mental capacity and after death.

A Medical Power of Attorney (also referred to as Enduring Guardianship) allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you become mentally or physically incapable of deciding for yourself.

Where there is both an Advance Care Document and an Enduring Guardianship, the wishes in the Advance Care Plan override the Enduring Guardianship as these have been made by you at a time where you were able to speak for yourself.

Who should create an Advance Care Plan?

We would urge everyone over the age of 18 to prepare an Advance Care Plan. They are of greater importance however, for those who are older, frail, have a chronic illness, multiple diseases, an early cognitive impairment, or are approaching their end of life.

Given the unpredictability of life, it is best to start your plan whilst you are healthy, to ensure you have the time to discuss your wishes with family, doctors and trusted advisors.

How often should I update my Advance Care Plan?

It is recommended by healthcare professionals that you update your Advance Care Plan every 12 months or after any major change in circumstances.

As soon as you update your plan, make sure that you destroy any old copies and share the updated copy with anyone who would have a copy of your previous advance care plan.

Who should I share my Advance Care Plan with?

You should discuss and share your Advance Care Plan with your closest family members, doctors and any trusted advisors such as a Financial Planner, Lawyer and whoever you have appointed as your Power of Attorney, Enduring Guardian or Substitute Decision Maker.

It is vital that anyone who may be responsible for managing your care at the end of your life is kept up to date with your wishes. This helps to avoid extra stress and confusion amongst family and means doctors can provide you the best care quickly without any delay.

Can my family negate my Advance Care Plan?

If your family is aware of – and has access to – your Advance Care Plan then no, they cannot ignore your written wishes.

This is why it is so important to ensure anyone that may play a role in your future medical care is informed in advance and kept up to date with your wishes.

The role of your Advance Care Plan is to speak on your behalf about care if you cannot.

What happens in an emergency?

In an emergency, where a copy of your Advance Care Plan is not immediately available, doctors will make initial medical decisions – which may include life-prolonging measures – until discussions can be had with your family or representative to understand your wishes (if you are not in a state to be able to tell them yourself).

This is why it is vital for you to ensure your loved ones are fully aware of your Advance Care Plan and its contents.

How does a hospital know that I have an Advance Care Plan?

Normally, the hospital is advised upon your admission by either yourself or your nominated representative. They can be provided a secure link to your Advance Care Plan either directly or via your doctor.

It is advisable that you keep an up to date hard copy of your plan in your home in case of an emergency.

If I am travelling or interstate - does my Advance Care Plan still apply?

Yes your care plan will still be valid but again, it is vital that you ensure your family, doctor and other trusted advisors are aware of your wishes.

With Touchstone Life Care your wishes are easily accessed by doctors and medical services all around the world by a secure link to the latest version of your Advance Care Plan.

What happens if I do not have an Advance Care Plan?

If you do not have an Advance Care Plan, then in the event of a serious illness or accident, doctors will make decisions about your care and treatment based on their assessment of what is in your best interests.

This may include treatments you would not wish to have. Family members may also be called on to make tough decisions about your care which can cause conflict and delay overall medical treatment.

Touchstone Life Care

Is a Touchstone Life Care Advance Care Plan legal?

Yes it is. Our form covers all key requirements for health and lifestyle decisions for every state in Australia and when you enter the state you live in, the specific witnessing requirements for your state are automatically attached to it.

This makes it easy to sign, witness and upload as a completely valid Advance Care Plan.

Where is Touchstone Life Care based?

Our organisation is based in Australia but we operate globally.

We are an online company and as such do not have a physical office you can visit to discuss your plan with. That said, our team is always available to answer your emails and messages via Facebook and Instagram.

How much does it cost to use your system?

Given the current circumstances, we are offering all new users three (3) months free of charge use of the system, to allow you the time you need to really consider what you want in regards to your future care needs.

Unlike other online memberships, we believe that this time should be ‘no strings attached’ which is why we will not ask for any credit card details to be entered at the start of your 3-month free trial.

We will email you towards the end of this initial trial, so that you can take some time to decide if you wish to continue your membership by signing up to a plan or would prefer to download your existing documents and part company with us.
If you wish to sign up formally, you can choose from the below options:

Monthly Plan: $8 per month
Annual Plan: $96 per year

Should you choose to sign up to an annual plan, your membership will renew 12 months from the date you pay – effectively giving you 15 months access in your first year! 

We are also proud to point out that our plans are charged in Australian Dollars, so rest assured you don’t need to worry about currency conversions at any point.

Are your plans valid outside Australia?

Absolutely. 

Our system has been designed so that once you have completed your Touchstone Life Care Advance Care Plan, you can share a secure link to your doctor, loved ones and whomever else you need to in order to complete the legal requirements for your country or state.

Can I download my plan once completed?

Yes you can download your completed plan in PDF format at any time via the website.

We recommend downloading and printing a copy anytime you update your plan along with sharing a copy digitally with your family, doctors and trusted advisors to ensure they are kept up to date with your latest wishes.

How do I share my Advance Care Plan with people?

Once you have completed your Touchstone Life Care Advance Care Plan, you can choose to share your plan via a secure link to your family, doctors and other trusted advisors.

This allows them to view, download and print a copy of your plan but does not allow them access to edit or delete the document.

Who can access my information?

In case of emergency your most up to date Advance Care Plan can be accessed remotely via the secure link provided to your family, doctor and other trusted advisors.

Other than this, unless you have provided your login details to anyone, your account is completely secure and protected by Australian Privacy laws.

How secure is your site?

Touchstone Life Care complies with Australian Privacy laws regarding data security and follows best practice data security protocols.

Individual user records are separated using access control lists, ensuring no user data is exposed to any other user. The final public connection to and from the server will feature AES 256 bit encryption.

Our servers are located in an extremely secure, PCI DSS approved data centre in Sydney, with access strictly limited to secure personnel only.

How can I cancel my account?

Once you have downloaded all of your documentation simply send us an email at info@touchstonelifecare.com and let us know that you want to close and remove your account and all data.

We will be in touch to verify your identity so we can commence the removal.

Do you have a Privacy Policy I can read?

Yes we do. To read our Privacy Policy simply click here.

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