The Tasmanian Department of Justice has released the [Draft] Guardianship and Administration Amendment (Advance Care Directives) Bill 2020 (“Bill”) for public comment. The draft Bill proposes amendments to the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 (Tas). Submissions close on 16 October 2020.
As outlined in the Bill, all other Australian jurisdictions (except NSW), explicitly provide for Advance Care Directives (“ACD”) in legislation. This Bill will amend the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 to provide for this purpose.
The Bill incorporates the recommendations of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (“TLRI”) on ACDs in their 2018 Final Report on the(“the Report”). The Report endorsed aspects of the Advance Care Directives Act 2013 of SA (see pg xvi, Part 5: Making Decisions in Advance – Advance Care Directives) and that Act has also informed development of the Bill.
At page 64 of the 2018 Report, it is noted:
author Kate Hanslow said:
The Bill defines an ACD “as instructions about a person’s future decisions in relation to health care and treatment made by a person when they have decision making ability in anticipation of a time in the future when they do not have the ability to make those decisions due to illness or injury”.
Attorney-General Elise Archer revealed to The Advocate that "a legal framework for advance care directives would be the first in a number of stages to deal with reforming the state's Guardianship and Administration Act".
The majority of applications before the Guardianship and Administration Board involve people over 65 years of age, with the most common disability being dementia.
Among the Report’s recommendations is the removal of the need to establish that a person has a disability, and refocusing on whether a person is able to make decisions with the use of appropriate support. The Report states this approach ensures that people with disability are treated equally before the law, reflecting a contemporary rights-based approach to decision-making.
Other key recommendations noted on theinclude:
Currently, Tasmania has ainitiative with its object "to increase community understanding of the role of palliative care, and the value of having open discussion about people's values and wishes for the end of their life".
The initiative includes face-to-face community education, the promotion of a standard Advance Care Directive form to record information about a person's values and wishes to assist others in reaching decisions, and a process to better identify and manage each patient's Medical Goals of Care within a hospital or nursing home setting.
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Guardianship and Administration Amendment (Advance Care Directives) Bill 2020 [Draft] (Tas) - Supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service
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