Advance Care Planning – Planning For Your Future Care

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a term we are hearing more and more of in the health care field. Advance Care Planning is about documenting your wishes and values in regards to your future health care and ensuring those who you trust are able to advocate and uphold your wishes when you are unable to. 

There may come a time when one may temporarily or permanently lose capacity to make informed decisions regarding health/personal and financial matters. We can never choose if or when we may lose this capacity but what we can control is how to plan for this. Whilst you are well and have capacity that is the prime time to start your ACP, it is never too early.  

The principles of ACP resonate closely to the professional values of Social Work Practice. Protecting those who are vulnerable, upholding their values and wishes and taking a wider lens to include the person’s identified support network.  

This is a very important process that is based on ensuring your rights and voice stay front and centre when decision making is happening around your health care. During my years working in the hospital sector I saw how critical these ACP documents were; the medical and allied health team don’t just benefit from knowing the patient’s wishes but also the family unit can confidently advocate for their loved one’s voice.  

Three steps to remember to help with going through the ACP process: 

1) Complete ACP forms – EPOA, AHD and/or SOC 

2) communicate with your support network (family/friends) that you have completed these forms. Ensure your loved ones know what your wishes and values are.  

3) Make copies and provide to the necessary stakeholders, including those who you appointed as your EPOA, GP, Bank etc. You can also provide a copy to the Statewide Office of Advance Care Planning (contact details below) who can upload the forms to the person’s Queensland Health electronic hospital record.  

Documents involved in the ACP are: 
  • Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) – there is a short and long form, which one you complete is dependent on how you want to set out your EPOA.  
  • Advance Health Directive (AHD) – This form is around your wishes regarding your future medical care. It is beneficial to go through the form with your Doctor, and it does require a Doctor to sign off.  

Both these documents are legal forms and each State and Territory have their own forms. For Queensland residents you can refer to the My Care My Choices website for further information and access these documents.  

  • Statement of Choices (SOC) – you may have also heard about a SOC form. This form was created by a group of Palliative Care Nurses to make it more user friendly – just two pages and directs the person to think about their values and what gives them a sense of quality of life. This is not a legal document but is recognised by Doctors. There are two forms, A and B. Form A is completed when the person still has capacity and form B is completed when the person no longer has capacity and their legally appointed substitute decision maker can complete it.  

Our Brisbane Social Workers at With Grace Therapy are available to help you start your Advanced Care Planning and explore further around your future planning.  

Please contact us for further information:


  • My Care My Choices  
  • Statewide Advance Care Planning Office 

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