Prevalence and predictors of advance directives in Australia

White, Ben, Tilse, Cheryl, Wilson, Jill, Rosenman, Linda, Strub, Tanya, Feeney, Rachel, & Silvester, William (2014) Prevalence and predictors of advance directives in Australia. Internal Medicine Journal, 44(10), pp. 975-980.

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Advance care planning is regarded as integral to better patient outcomes yet little is known about the prevalence of advance directives in Australia.


To determine the prevalence of advance directives (ADs) in the Australian population.


A national telephone survey about estate and advance planning. Sample was stratified by age (18-45 and >45 years) and quota sampling occurred based on population size in each State and Territory.


Fourteen percent of the Australian population has an AD. There is State variation with people from South Australia and Queensland more likely to have an AD than people from other states. Will making and particularly completion of a financial enduring power of attorney are associated with higher rates of AD completion. Standard demographic variables were of limited use in predicting whether a person would have an AD.


Despite efforts to improve uptake of advance care planning (including ADs), barriers remain. One likely trigger for completing an AD and advance care planning is undertaking a wider future planning process (e.g. making a will or financial enduring power of attorney). This presents opportunities to increase advance care planning but steps are needed to ensure that planning which occurs outside the health system is sufficiently informed and supported by health information so that it is useful in the clinical setting. Variations by State could also suggest that redesign of regulatory frameworks (such as a user-friendly and well publicised form backed by statute) may help improve uptake of ADs.

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ID Code: 75940
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Advance care planning, Advance directives, Adult guardianship, Health law, Medical law
DOI: 10.1111/imj.12549
ISSN: 1445-5994
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Law and Society (180119)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > APPLIED ETHICS (220100) > Medical Ethics (220106)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Copyright Statement: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Prevalence and predictors of advance directives in Australia, which has been published in final form at
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2014 00:20
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2014 00:54

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