New edition of Side by Side now available
Side by Side includes the information and forms you need to appoint a:
- medical support person
- supportive attorney.
The booklet also includes an Easy English introduction to help you decide if you want to appoint someone to either or both of these roles,
A medical support person is helps you make, communicate and act on your medical treatment decisions. When you do not have decision-making capacity to make medical treatment decisions, their support person represents your interests in relation to their medical treatment, for example, explaining previous preferences to medical staff.
A supportive attorney is appointed by you to support you in making and acting on your decisions. You give your supportive attorney power to: access or provide information about them to organisations such as banks and utility providers, communicate their decisions and give effect to their decisions.
The Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce said supported decision-making is one of the most important human rights.
"Everyone has the right to receive the support they need to make their own decisions," Ms Pearce said.
"Supported decision-making has been promoted in a range of places, most importantly in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
These appointments can be particularly helpful if you have a carer who experiences difficulties such as gaining access to information, communicating with organisations with the person or on your behalf and giving effect to your decisions.
By appointing your carer as a legally-recognised supporter, you give your carer authority to advocate alongside you in creating decision opportunities, exploring your will and preferences and implementing your decisions. This can resolve problems created by concerns about privacy of information when the person interacts with hospitals, banks, disability organisations, utility providers and government agencies.
You must have decision-making capacity to make these appointments.
These these appointments do not give the medical support person or supportive attorney the right to make decisions on your behalf.
For more information, contact the Office of the Public Advocate Advice Service on 1300 309 337.