The intersection between Advance Care Directives and voluntary euthanasia: Advocacy for both is a precarious and intimate dance

Sandra L Bradley1

1 ACD Consultant, Adelaide, South Australia, 5041,

In South Australia there is a new Advance Care Directive Form. There was an intensive exercise in educating clinicians and hospital systems in the acceptance and implementation of these forms during its first year in existence (2014-2015). Education of the general public was largely done by employees of SA Health and external volunteers addressing community groups who expressed an interest in learning about the new form. Since the end of the focused education campaign, however, the general public have largely been left to their own devices to learn about this form.

To assist the general public, palliative care and aged care agencies have created workshops and forums on advance care planning.  Advance care planning is predicated on the fact that a person has an illness which is life-limiting and requires a clinical care plan. This, therefore, leaves many members of the general public uninformed about the advance care directive until such time as they may interact with it through the illness of themselves or a family member or friend.

The emphasis in the new SA advance care directive is to complete it before illness strikes. To understand what factors may influence a person to create an advance care directive, the presenter recently completed a PhD thesis on advance care directive decision-making by Baby Boomers in South Australia.  The knowledge generated by this thesis led the presenter to create her own advance care directive consultancy directed towards informing the general public on the new form without a direct link to an illness, agency, or legal professional. This presentation will describe the approach used, the types of audiences educated, and the gaps that still remain which make advocating for the use of advance care directives precarious when voluntary euthanasia is the person’s preference.


Sandra Bradley, RN, PhD runs her own advance care directive consultancy assisting people in the South Australian community to understand and learn how to write their own South Australian Advance Care Directive Form. Through her consultancy, Sandra educates community groups, individuals, and professional groups while learning about the practicalities of this form for those who are not currently ill but who are interested in protecting what happens to them in their future care, as well as how this form may assist those who are ready to die but lack access to voluntary euthanasia.

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The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

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