Advance care planning

Advance care planning involves thinking about your future health care and discussing your treatment goals and preferences for care with your family, friends and treatment team. This helps them understand your goals, values and beliefs, and ensures that your wishes are respected should you lose the capacity to make your own decisions. Advance care planning can be started at any stage, whether you are feeling well or ill. Making your wishes clear can help give you peace of mind. Everyone has their own individual preferences for medical care and these can change over time.

As part of your advance care planning, you may record your wishes in an advance care directive and appoint a substitute decision-maker.

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Advance care directive

The written record of your wishes may be called an advance care directive, an advance care plan or a living will. This includes details of your values, life goals and treatment preferences for doctors, family members and carers to consider if you become unable to communicate or make decisions. You may include details of treatments that you would have or refuse to have, as well as outcomes that you don’t want.

If your needs change, you can choose to revise or cancel your advance care directive. Ask your doctor or hospital to place your directive on your medical record. You can also save it online at My Health Record.

Each state or territory has different laws about advance care planning and substitute decision-makers. Talk to a lawyer to obtain specific advice about your situation. For more information about completing an advance care plan, call the Advance Care Planning Advisory Service on 1300 208 582.

Substitute decision-maker

You can legally appoint someone to make decisions for you if at some point in the future you lose the capacity to make them yourself. This can include decisions about your finances, property and medical care.

A substitute decision-maker should be someone you trust who understands your values and wishes for future care. Depending on where you live, the documents for appointing this person may be known as an enduring power of attorney, enduring power of guardianship or appointment of a medical treatment decision maker.

Default decision-maker

If you lose capacity to give consent for medical treatment and you haven’t appointed a substitute decision-maker, consent may be given by a default substitute decision-maker. They may be known as a person responsible, available consenter, statutory health attorney, or medical treatment decision maker. They are usually approached in the following order.

for people under 16

  • the parent or guardian
for people under guardianship (e.g. people with an intellectual disability)
  • the appointed guardian
for people 16 and older
  • the most recent spouse, including a de facto spouse or same-sex partner, with whom the person has a close and continuing relationship
  • an unpaid carer
  • a close friend or relative
If no-one is available, a public guardian or a tribunal in your state or territory will make decisions on your behalf.

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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 June 2019
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