An Enduring Guardian is someone you appoint at a time when you have legal capacity, to make personal, health or lifestyle decisions on your behalf, should you lose the mental capacity to make them for yourself. Common functions you give your Guardian are:
To decide where you live, for example in your own home, a hostel or nursing home;
To decide what health care you receive, for example treating doctor and health care service provider;
To decide what other personal services you receive, for example at home support services; and
To give consent for any medical or dental treatment.
Most hospitals and nursing homes now request a validly signed Enduring Guardianship document from a family member or friend who takes an active role in the decision making surrounding your care. Therefore it is vitally important that the person you choose to be your Guardian is someone you can trust.
An Advance Health Directive is a further document you can sign to decide in advance what medical treatment you would and would not like to receive in certain circumstances. It can be supplied to a hospital or paramedic when the time comes. You can use it to express your wish to be allowed to die with dignity, in peace and without pain. It can be used if you are suffering from a condition from which you are unlikely to recover, and which involves severe distress or loss of normal powers of understanding and it can direct that you not be subjected to any medical intervention or treatment aimed at prolonging or sustaining your life.
The directive is a way to expresses your intentions that can make end of life decisions less traumatic and difficult for your family and carers.