Role of Substitute Decision makers
An Advance Care Directive may include information about who the person wishes to make decisions for them (substitute decision maker) if they are incapable. However, it may also be necessary for you to find out who is the ‘Person Responsible’ for the patient, using the hierarchy outlined in Chapter 5 of the Guardianship Act. The Person Responsible should make decisions according to the expressed wishes of the person outlined in an Advance Care Directive. A Person Responsible can consent to or refuse treatment on the basis of the Advance Care Directive. A Person Responsible does not have the legal authority to make broader health care decisions, however under NSW Health guidelines, the Person Responsible would be involved in coming to a consensus regarding the patient’s management.
For more information on these guidelines go to the NSW Health End-of-Life Care and Decision-Making Guidelines.