This CPD site is for Australian health professionals
Need an easy way to manage your CPD?

Sign up to Ausmed for Free to take control of your CPD

Cover image for: Advance Care Directives
Badge from the American Nurses Credentialing Center showing that Ausmed is an accredited provider with distinction

The Ausmed Education Learning Centre is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Provider number is P0342.

CPD1h 5m of CPD
Total Rating(s)142
First Published
Updated28 January 2019
Expires 28 January 2020
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia

Course Overview

All competent adults have a right to decide what medical treatment they would refuse if they lose capacity to make decisions in the future. This Course looks at the increasing trend to have future refusals of treatment recorded in legally binding documents known as Advance Care Directives (ACDs).

  • What is an Advanced Care Directive?
  • Requirements for a valid Advanced Care Directive
  • Substitute decision making
  • Case law and Advanced Care Directives

All adults have the right to make decisions about their own body. This includes the right to consent and to refuse treatment – even if the refusal of treatment will cause their death.

The right to refuse treatment in advance has also been upheld by the common law. There is a growing trend to have future refusals of treatment recorded in legally binding documents such as an ‘Advance Directive’ or ‘Living Will’.

Therefore, it is imperative that all health practitioners understand what constitutes a valid refusal of treatment through these written instructions to meet their common law and professional obligations when providing care for their clients.


The purpose of this Course is to enable learners to gain a better understanding of the legal framework that supports a competent adult to make decisions about advanced care directives.

Learning Outcomes
  • State the purpose of an Advance Care Directive
  • Identify the legal requirements of a valid Advance Care Directive
  • Describe common dilemmas associated with refusal of treatment instructions
Target Audience

This Course is relevant to all registered nurses and other health professionals working in all contexts of adult health care.


No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.


Portrait of Linda Starr
Linda Starr Visit

Dr Linda Starr has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in general, mental health nursing, law, education and a PhD in legal issues in elder abuse. Linda has extensive experience as an RN in metropolitan and rural locations, in general nursing, mental health, forensic health, aged care and management. She has held senior positions in academia, including the dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Linda has publications in health law and forensic health issues. Linda is an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University and a consultant educator in health law and ethics for nurses, midwives and carers. She is chair of the SA Board of Nursing and Midwifery, fellow of the College of Nursing Australia, foundation president of the Australian Forensic Nurses Association, member on the School of Health Academic Advisory Board for Open Colleges and the international member on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Forensic Nursing.

Learner Reviews

142 Total Rating(s)
Generic portrait
Taryn Mildenhall
03 Oct 2019

Brief review of a complex topic

Generic portrait
Julie McLean
02 Oct 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed updating my knowledge of the correct way to complete an Advanced care directive noting changes the need to occur when formatting new plans in the future . I will also use this knowledge to educate staff , patients and their families .. and Doctors if this is required to ensure the persons wishes are respected and carried through .

Generic portrait
Laura Spilstead
02 Oct 2019

Informative but I found the presenter a little difficult to engage with

Generic portrait
Angela Tomaras
21 Sep 2019


Generic portrait
Mia Ruggieri
16 Sep 2019

Exceptional content - and very bareable to listen to

Generic portrait
Trudi Copland-Reid
06 Sep 2019

Very good explanation of a complex topic.

Generic portrait
David Mangan
02 Sep 2019

Excellent overview of this important part of individual health care.

Generic portrait
yvonne crispin
29 Aug 2019

good to learn about advanced health directives and having the discussions with residents and their families about future treatment options.

Generic portrait
Vicki lees
09 Aug 2019

Would be good to be more State Specific

Generic portrait
Lucy Soto
30 Jun 2019