National Advance Care Planning Week

18 – 24 March 2024

Share what matters most.

Advance care planning involves thinking and communicating your preferences for future health care.

National Advance Care Planning Week is the perfect time to attend an event or share your thoughts with loved ones about what’s important to you.

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning involves shared planning for your future health care needs. It is a voluntary and ongoing process. It enables you to make some decisions now about the health care you would or would not like to receive if you were unable to communicate your preferences or make treatment decisions.

Everyone should consider advance care planning, regardless of their age or health. Advance care planning gives you the chance to:

  • Talk to your family, friends and doctors about how you would like to be cared for in the future.
  • Write down your own preferences for care and medical treatments.
  • Choose who you would like to make medical treatment and care decisions for you.

Benefits for you and the people close to you

Advance care planning:

  • Helps to ensure your wishes and preferences about health care are known and respected if you are too unwell to speak for yourself.
  • Assists those who are close to you. Families of those who have done advance care planning have less anxiety and stress when asked to make important health care decisions for other people.

Writing your wishes and preferences down allows you to say what you would want. This can give peace of mind to you and comfort to others as wishes and preferences are clear, understood and more readily respected.

What do you need to do?

Be open:

  • Think about your wishes and preferences for current and future health care.
  • Decide who you would like to speak for you if you become very sick and are not able to communicate. Ask them if they are prepared to be your substitute decision-maker.

Think about a trusted person who is:

  • available
  • over the age of 18 years
  • prepared to speak on your behalf and make the decisions you would make when talking to your doctors, other health professionals and family members.

Depending on your state/territory, you may be able to appoint more than one substitute decision-maker.

Be ready

  • Talk about your wishes and preferences with your substitute decision-maker and other people involved in your care, such as family, friends, carers and doctors.
  • Write your plan.
  • Appoint your substitute decision-maker.

See and find the forms for your state or territory. Your GP or other health professional can support you to do advance care planning. You can also contact the National Advance Care Planning Support Service for free advice.

Where can I get more information?

The information in this post was taken from the National Advanced Care Planning.  For more information, visit their website at

Call the National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm (AEST) or via email at