Common Questions Answered
What is an Advance Care Plan?
An Advance Care Plan is like a letter to your loved ones and to your doctors, telling them the medical treatment you do or do not wish to have at the end of your life.
It is only used when you cannot make or voice your own decisions.
It is best used in combination with discussions ahead of time with people who will be making decisions on your behalf.
It allows people to put themselves in your shoes and make decisions they think you would agree with.
Different people, states and countries use words such as Advance Health Plan, Statement of Choices, or Living Will.
Whatever you call it, in general this document must be dated. The person must be mentally competent. It must be completed voluntarily (ie not under any coercion). The person signing should consider their state of health now as well as in the future.
An Advance Care Plan is not a will.
In Australia it does not require a solicitor, and it doesn’t talk about funeral and burial arrangements.
How does an Advance Care Plan differ from a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship?
In Australia, A Power of Attorney appoints someone else to act on your behalf in financial and administrative affairs only. They can do this if you are sick, overseas or unable to look after your own affairs. It stops having effect if you lose your mental capacity and is invalid after death.
An Enduring Power of Attorney appoints someone else to act on your behalf but continues if you lose your mental capacity.
Enduring Guardianship appoints someone to make decisions on your behalf about medical treatment and quality of life issues. There is no plan or document from you about your wishes.
Where there is both an Advance Care Document and an Enduring Guardianship, the wishes in the Advance Care Plan over ride the Enduring Guardianship.
I live in Australia. What are the state by state requirements for my Advance Care Plan?
Requirements vary state to state.
We suggest you complete your Advance Care Plan, discuss with your GP and solicitor about the witnessing requirements for your state
End of Life Law in Australia is a fabulous resource for all your legal questions.
All states except Queensland and Victoria agree that you can write your Advance Care Plan, as you wish, and it is legal under common law in Australia, and all States also have suggested forms you can use.
Touchstone Life Care ‘s form covers all requirements for health and lifestyle decisions for every state in Australia and when you enter the state you live in, attaches to it the specific witnessing requirements for your state. You can then easily sign and witness and upload a printed , signed and witnessed version of your plan that makes it very clear and valid.
All states agree that if you state your wishes clearly and share and discuss them with your trusted people in advance, your Advance Care Plan is more valid and less likely to be challenged.
I live outside Australia. Can I still use Touchstone Life Care to plan and share my wishes?
No matter where you live in the world, you can still use our free and easy self assessment questionnaire to find out what you really feel about life’s most important questions.
You will be able to create a PDF document tailored to your personal wishes of the medical care you do and don’t want. You can then share a secure link to your Advance Care Plan to your doctor, loved ones and whoever else you need to complete the legal requirements for your country or state.
You are also able to use our platform to edit, update, and resend the link at any time you choose and the link will always show the latest version of your ACD. As many times as you choose.
Wherever you live in the world, and whatever the legal terms that are used, you need a plan written by you, for you.
How does it differ from a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship?
A Power of Attorney appoints someone else to act on your behalf in financial and administrative affairs only. They can do this if you are sick, overseas or unable to look after your own affairs. It stops having effect if you lose your mental capacity and is invalid after death.
Can I talk to my GP about my Advance Care Plan?
Yes. We encourage this and make it easy for you to discuss your health and wishes for medical care with your doctor.
You can send your GP a link to the questionnaire so they can check it for you or make an appointment to discuss your questions about your questionnaire.
You can start your questionnaire, discuss any questions with your GP and return to finish your document later.
You can nominate your GP as your Responsible Person or include them as one of your trusted people with a copy of your document.
In an emergency your GP will often be contacted by a hospital, and it is helpful if they know what your wishes would be.
It is a doctor’s professional duty to uphold confidentiality at all times.
Security is key. How do I know my details are secure?
Touchstone Life Care secures critical customer data via a segmented design. 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.
The servers are located in an extremely secure, PCI DSS approved data center in Sydney, with access strictly limited to secure personnel only.
There are no links to any government websites or use of any identifying information such as medicare numbers or government websites.
We are as concerned as you about your privacy and about ensuring your retain control over your life.
What if I change my mind?
We expect that you will change your mind and that is why Touchstone Life Care makes it easy for you to change and update your document at any time.
We recommend you renew or update your document every year, or after every major change in life circumstances.
We will contact you occasionally to remind you to do this.
What if I or my loved ones are travelling overseas?
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 if my family disagree with my wishes?
To avoid confusion and conflict, your Advance Care Document should be shared and discussed in advance with the people who will be making decisions on your behalf. This could be your loved ones, your GP, or someone else that you appoint.
Touchstone Life Care ensures your document is clear and simple, legally valid, and accepted by medical doctors so there is less risk of family confusion and conflict.
Can I include my religious or cultural choices?
Yes. Our questionnaire helps you to create a personalised Advance Care Plan that includes your wishes for medical care, and any religious or cultural practices that are important to you.
You may want to discuss your Advance Care Plan with your religious leader to understand your religion’s beliefs about end of life care.
My parent has dementia. What do I do?
An Advance Care Plan is made when you are of sound mind. If a parent has dementia and does not have capacity to make a plan their Enduring Guardian can make decisions for them.
However they may have capacity to make smaller decisions for themselves. They may be able to make it clear they do or do not want to eat or drink. They may be able to make it clear they are in pain. They may be able to make it clear they are happy or unhappy.
“Having capacity” to make decisions is not a blanket statement.
All people have a right to autonomy and for their decisions to be respected, respecting the amount of capacity they have for making decisions.
Please remember a person with dementia can be easily irritated, aggressive, shocking, and non cooperative. Like you, they are probably stressed, confused, fearful and not their normal self. So patience and reassurance are important in any communications.
I want to remove all data from the Touchstone Life Care platform. How do I do this?
No problem! Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.