Medical Treatment Decision Maker Explained (2021)

A medical treatment decision maker makes decision on your behalf when you lose the capacity to do so yourself.

Dave Kaplan Dave Kaplan
ARTICLE3 MIN READ
Medical Treatment Decision Maker Explained (2021)

By choosing to appoint a medical treatment decision maker, you give someone the power to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what is a medical treatment decison maker and what they can do.


What is a Medical Treatment Decision Maker?


A medical treatment decision maker is a person who can legally make decisions about your health on your behalf after you lose capacity to make the decision yourself. Each state has a different process for the appointment of a medical decision maker (AMDM).


What is an Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker?


An Appointment of Medical Decision Maker is a legally binding document that authorises someone to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf. Appointing a medical treatment decision maker helps to make sure you choices pertaining to your health are fulfilled.


When appointing a medical treatment decision maker, you should consider the following:



  1. Who you wish to appoint

  2. How many decisions makers you’ll choose


You can appoint more than one person, but only one person can act at any one time. The other people you may appoint will act as alternate decision makers, if your first choice is unable or unwilling to act. Some states also allow the appointment of joint decision makers.


When can I choose a Medical Treatment Decision Maker?


As long as you are over the age of 18 and have ‘full legal capacity’, you can appoint a person to act as your Medical Treatment Decision Maker. In other words, you must know and understand what’s involved when you appoint the person and the implications of your decision.


Who can I appoint as my medical decision maker?


When choosing who you want to be your medical decision maker, you need to consiser who is the best person to make decisions on your behalf. They should be someone you trust will make decisions with your best interests and values top of mind. You can appoint an adult family member or trusted friend.


What does a medical treatment decision maker do?


The medical treatment decision maker consents on your behalf to the commencement, continuation, or cancellation of treatment that you receive. They can also refuse treatment on your behalf.


They must always make a decision they believe you would make if you could. You should tell your medical decision maker what you think about life support, surgery, medication and the overall lifestyle that you want to carry if you lose capacity.


What are the types of medical decision makers in Australia?


Medical decision making varies across Australia. Below is the different medical decisions makers depending on which state or territory you live.



  • In Victoria, medical decisions come under an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker. Read our VIC estate planning guide for more information.

  • In NSW, personal and medical decisions are by an Enduring Guardian. Read our New South Wales estate planning guide for more information.

  • In Queensland, all legal, financial, personal and medical decisions are under an Enduring Power of Attorney. Read our QLD estate planning guide for more information.

  • In South Australia, personal and medical decisions are made under an Advance Care Directive. Read our SA estate planning guide for more information.

  • In Tasmania, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Guardianship. Read our TAS estate planning guide for all things related to planning your estate in Tasmania.

  • In the ACT, all decisions including legal, financial, personal and medical are made under an Enduring Power of Attorney. Read our ACT estate planning guide for more information.

  • In Western Australia, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Power of Guardianship. Read our WA estate planning guide for more information.


Wrap Up


Make sure to let your ‘Next of Kin’ and family aware that you have chosen a medical decision maker. Then store the signed document in a safe and accessible place. It’s always best to communicate these decisions with your loved ones and the person you choose as your decision maker so they have time to process and discuss your decision.


Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.


Share this guide: