Advance care planning

If you have not already done so, it is important to think about your wishes for your future medical care, and to discuss these with your family, friends and health care team. This process is called advance care planning.

Although advance care planning is often done when people are told their condition is terminal, or as they approach the end of life, it can be started at any stage, whether you are healthy or ill.

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Issues to consider

As it is hard to know what medical care you’re going to want until the situation arises, uncertainty is common. Many people find their attitudes and preferences for medical care change as they get closer to death, and they need to revisit their decision regularly.

To help you decide, think about what is important to you and talk with your health professionals, over several appointments if necessary.

For some people, quality of life is more important than length, but for others, it may be the reverse. Some people may feel there’s nothing worse than death, and will do anything to avoid it, while others prefer to die comfortably without unnecessary and sometimes uncomfortable interventions. You may want to find a balance between what medical care can achieve and the side effects of treatments.

Start with discussions

Discussing these issues with the people around you will help them understand your goals, values and beliefs, and help to ensure that your wishes are respected should you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.

Without these conversations, it’s not uncommon for distressed family members to have disagreements about whether to keep you alive using any means possible or focus on your quality of life. Palliative Care Australia have developed a discussion starter that can help you reflect on your preferences for care and talk about them to your family – visit

Find out more about advance care planning

As part of your advance care planning, you may appoint a substitute decision-maker and record your wishes in an advance care plan and/or advance care directive. See Preparing legal documents for more information about these documents.

To find out more about the process of advance care planning, visit or call the national advance care planning advisory line on 1300 208 582. Palliative Care Australia also has useful information on their website at

End of life law

The law at end of life is complex and can be confusing. The Australian Centre for Health Law Research has prepared the End of Life Law in Australia website. This website provides detailed information about Australian laws relating to death, dying and end-of-life decision-making. 

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on facing end of life.

    Facing End of Life

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Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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