Making an advance statement of preferences is one way for you to have some control over your treatment. An advance statement of preferences sets out what your preferences are for treatment, if you become so unwell that you require compulsory treatment.
Watch our video – introduction to advance statements
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How to make an advance statement of preferences
You can make an advance statement of preferences at any time. It must be:
- a written statement
- signed and dated by you
- witnessed by an adult.
The form must be witnessed by an adult, which means they must watch you sign the form. This can be anyone you choose, including friends, family, or support worker.
What can your advance statement of preferences include
Your advance statement of preferences will explain what you want to happen if you receive compulsory assessment or treatment. It can include answers to the following questions:
- what kind of treatment you want and do not want?
- what kind of care and support you want and do not want?
- what helps you to communicate or understand information? For example, written information, hearing aids, reading glasses or if you need an interpreter.
- what helps you explain what you do and do not want?
- if you want the mental health service to inform your nominated support person or advocate when you are receiving compulsory assessment or treatment
- if you want the mental health service to share information about your health, mental health or disability with your nominated support person or advocate.
How an advance statement of preferences of preferences works
If you have an advance statement of preferences and a different type of treatment is being considered, then your preferred treatment set out in your statement must be considered by the treating practitioner. The mental health service must take all reasonable steps to follow the advance statement of preferences.
If your preferred treatment is not deemed clinically appropriate by the service or not ordinarily provided by the mental health service you are being treated by, then your advance statement of preferences may not be followed.
The mental health service must try to do what is in your statement, but they are not legally bound to do so. If they don't, they must tell you why in writing within 10 business days.
Cancelling or changing an advance statement of preferences
You can revoke (cancel) your advance statement of preferences in writing at any time. You must sign and date the revocation and have it witnessed by adult. They must include a written statement that you understand the consequences of revoking the statement.
Or you can make a new advance statement of preferences. This new advance statement of preferences has the effect of revoking the previous statement automatically.
If you change your mind, you are not able to amend an advance statement of preferences. You must make a new statement.
How an advocate can support you
We can support you to prepare an advance statement of preferences so that your wishes can be taken into account if you are subjected to compulsory treatment in the future.
Our independent advocates can also:
- listen to what you want and talk to you about your options
- give you information and support to act on your rights
- work with you so you can have your say
- refer you to other services if needed.
Reviewed 01 September 2023