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Advance Healthcare Directives

An Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD) informs family, friends and healthcare workers of your wishes for your treatment in the event you can no longer communicate them yourself.

It is a legally binding document where you record what healthcare treatments you would NOT like in the future and the circumstances for refusing them.

An AHD relates specifically to your healthcare, it is NOT a will or an enduring power of attorney.

If you are planning ahead, you can make an AHD.

It allows you to:

  • set out your wishes now about medical and healthcare treatments in case you’re unable to make these decisions in the future.
  • record any treatment you do NOT wish to have and the circumstances for them. For example, if I have terminal cancer, I do not wish to have chemotherapy.

We strongly advise you discuss your AHD with your healthcare team who can guide you in making these decisions.

You can write the treatments you would like to receive too. Treatments you would like to receive are not legally binding, but healthcare workers are obliged to explain why they did not follow your preferences.

Below is an explainer video on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 which was launched in September 2020 by the HSE.