Advance Care Directives
An Advance Care Directive (ACD) is a legal document that allows people over the age of 18 years to:
- Write down their wishes, preferences and instructions for future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters; and/or
- Appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on their behalf when they are unable to do so themselves.
Pharmacists are on the list of authorised witnesses in some states.
- It is your choice whether you witness a person’s ACD.
- In signing the ACD, witnesses vouch for a person’s capacity.
- Importantly, an authorised witness must have no conflict in interest when signing (e.g. someone responsible for managing the individual’s health). Unrelated pharmacists not involved in the person's care are therefore ideal for witnessing ACDs.
For more information including state and territory specific legislation and forms visit Advance Care Planning Australia.
Caregivers require complex supports to be effective in their role.
In offering reassurance and practical information regarding their loved one’s medicines, pharmacists can empower the caregiver to contribute in what can be a difficult situation.
- Identify who is the primary caregiver – they may not be directly related to the person.
- Ask if they have questions about medicines.
- Include them in Home Medication Reviews and MedsChecks.
- Suggest they keep a list of the person’s medications and take it along when talking with the health professional team. palliAGED has an online Medicines List form (129kb pdf) to help with this.
- Guide them to the Caring for Carers page in palliAGED and the list of Family Resources that they may find useful.
Bereavement following the death of a loved one can be a challenge, particularly for those with limited supports around them. Pharmacists - through their frequent contact with people - may recognise those struggling with their grief. Visit the palliAGED practice centre page on Bereavement to learn what you and your organisation can do to help.
The pharmacist’s role in bereavement is one of reassurance and information. Advocacy may be necessary at times to ensure they access the right supports.
People with prolonged severe grief may be flagged by the pharmacist and encouraged to discuss the situation with their GP.
Page created 17 March 2021