Respecting the autonomy of young people in their health-care choices is important.
The Victorian law provides if a child has made a valid advance directive including instructions to refuse a particular medical treatment, a health practitioner must not provide that treatment.
Having an advance care directive ensures your values and wishes are known, even beyond a time when you can no longer speak for yourself.
At least one-third of patients receive non-beneficial treatments at the end of their life. Having a good advance care directive that you share with others helps them know and respect your wishes.
We all have different ideas about the care we want at the end of our life. Some of us want doctors to do whatever it takes to keep us alive. Others don’t want to be kept alive if it means living with significant disability or a poor quality of life.
Doctor and patient via www.shutterstock.com
A new Medicare proposal would reimburse doctors for appointments to help patients plan what care they would want if they are too ill to speak for themselves. It's about time.
The concept of a timely and dignified death has been replaced by an imperative to keep us alive at all costs.
We all die eventually, of course, but these days it's very hard for doctors and loved ones to let patients and relatives die without doing "whatever it takes".