In this section
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations 1989)
Australia ratified the Convention in 1990 and therefore has a duty to ensure all children enjoy the rights set out within it. Of particular relevance to advance care planning are:
Advance care planning: have the conversation; A strategy for Victorian health services 2014–2018 (Department of Health 2014)
Aims to ensure all Victorians accessing health services will have opportunities to express their preferences for future treatment and care through advance care planning. The strategy acknowledges but does not specifically address the issue of advance care planning in paediatrics.
National framework for advance care directives (Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council 2011)
This framework does not make provision for children.
Medical Treatment Act 1988
This act does not make provision for children.
Guardianship and Administration Act
Treatment Planning and Decisions Bill 2016
The Victorian Government introduced legislation to Parliament in September 2016, which if passed will take effect after March 2018. This will provide greater clarity regarding the legal status of advance care plans. Importantly, the Bill clarifies that a child who has decision–making capacity can make their own
medical treatment decisions or execute an advance care directive which will apply as a legal document in the event they do not have capacity at a future time. It is already recognised that if a child has capacity they should be able to make some of their own medical treatment decisions. While the proposed Bill does not yet affect the current legal landscape regarding these issues, unless and until it commences, health professionals should make themselves
aware of its proposed effect.
(Department of Health 2008)
This policy aims to ensure Victorian children with life-limiting conditions have access to high-quality palliative care. Principle 1, Information and Decision Making, highlights the importance of including children and families in decision making.
‘Children with a life-threatening
condition and their families have information about options for their future
care and are actively and appropriately involved in those decisions.
The expected outcomes are: