In Queensland these documents are called Advance Health Directives. I think there is a different name in some of the other States.
For those who don't know, it's a document designed to make clear your wishes should you be unable to communicate in the case of illness or injury.
Most people who complete these do so with the aim of ensuring that - if they are not going to recover - their death will be as comfortable and speedy as possible. Mine, for example, dictates that unless I am able to make a full recovery I do not want any antibiotics, artificial feeding, fluids or oxygen, but rather sufficient pain relief and/or sedation to prevent unnecessary pain or distress.
In the last few days a situation has arisen with a friend who is dying which has made me aware of the importance of not just completing this document, but making sure someone on whom you can depend to advocate for you knows where it is and will insist at the hospital that it be followed.
My friend completed an Advance Health Directive several years ago.
She has an aggressive cancer at the base of the brain and will die within a week or so. She has lost all voluntary function: cannot speak, swallow, cough, move, except for constant involuntary spasms of her entire body which are obviously causing her immense distress. Her husband says he 'doesn't know where the Ad. H. Directive is' and so the nursing staff are continuing to administer fluids, artificial feeding, and oxygen. This is absolutely not what she would want.
So, not an attractive subject. But maybe one which we need to think about.