An Appointment of Medical Decision Maker (AMDM) is a legal document allowing you to formally appoint a person to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf. This article provides a brief overview of the Appointment of Medical Decision Maker and answers the most common questions.
What is an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker?
An Appointment of Medical Decision Maker is a legally binding authorisation that allows someone to make medical treatment decisions on another person’s behalf. Your medical treatment decision maker has legal authority to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf, if you do not have decision making capacity to make the decision.It can be useful to have an AMDM in place if you become unwell later on, or lose the ability to make medical decisions yourself.
Can I make an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker any time?
Anyone aged 18 years or over can make an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker at any time as long as they have ‘full legal capacity’ to do so. In other words, they must know and understand what’s involved with appointing one and the implications of their decision.
What should I consider when appointing a medical decision maker?
When appointing a medical decision maker, there are a few things you will need to consider. Firstly, consider who you wish to appoint as your medical decision maker. Will you appoint one, or a number of decision makers? You can appoint more than one person, but only one person acts at any one time. The other people you may appoint will act as alternate decision makers, if your first choice is unable or unwilling to act. Some states also allow the appointment of joint decision makers, where more than one person would share the role of the decision maker.
Who should I appoint as my medical decision maker?
The most important thing you will need to consider is who will be the most appropriate person to make decisions on your behalf. Consider someone you trust, who will respect your values and preferences. Your designated medical-decision maker can be an adult family member or friend, or someone else that you trust.
When will the medical decision maker start making decisions on my behalf?
If you are unable to make a medical treatment decision, your medical decision maker can consent to commencement, or continuation, of treatment. They can also refuse treatment on your behalf. The medical treatment decision maker must make the decision they reasonably believe is the choice you would have made if they were able.
What is a health practitioner's involvement with an AMDM?
A health practitioner can disclose health information about the patient to their medical treatment decision maker where it is relevant to a medical treatment decision they will make. Health practitioners may also offer advice to medical decision makers. However, in Victoria, an Advance Care Directive may be in place without an AMDM. Therefore a health practitioner's involvement with a medical decision maker would generally be higher than in other states.
Do I lose the ability to make my own decisions?
Appointing an attorney does not mean that you will lose control over your medical decision making. It simply allows someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so for yourself. Your Appointment of Medical Decision Maker can be cancelled (revoked) at any time provided you have the capacity to do so.
Is an AMDM called something else?
Medical decision making is dealt with slightly differently depending on which state you reside in.
- In Victoria, medical decisions come under an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker (AMDM). Read our Melbourne estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters.
- In NSW, personal and medical decisions are made under the appointment of an Enduring Guardian. Read our Sydney estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters.
- In Queensland, all decisions (legal, financial, personal and medical) are made under an Enduring Power of Attorney. Read our Brisbane estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters.
- In South Australia, personal and medical decisions are made under an Advance Care Directive.
- In Tasmania, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Guardianship.
- In the ACT, all decisions (legal, financial, personal and medical) are made under an Enduring Power of Attorney.
- In Western Australia, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Power of Guardianship.
Who needs to sign an AMDM document?
Before it can become a legally binding document, the Appointment of Medical Decision Maker document must be signed by two witnesses. One must be an independent authorised witness, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, teacher or public servant. The second witness can be anyone aged 18 years or over.
Do I need to register my medical decision maker?
Your Appointment of Medical Decision Maker form doesn't need to be registered anywhere. However, the signed AMDM document and an Advance Care Directive (if one exists) can be uploaded to your MyHealth Record. Is recommended that copies are given to your appointed medical decision maker and relevant health practitioners or health services.Make your Next of Kin and family aware that the medical decision maker has been appointed and store the signed document in a safe and accessible place. If you are storing the document with your Will, be sure not to staple it or attach it to the Will document in any way, otherwise it can invalidate your Will.
To learn more, visit the Bare Law website or chat with our estate team for a free consultation, on 1800 959 371.
This article is not legal advice. You should chat with a legal professional for specific advice on your personal or financial situation.