If you have made an Advance Health Directive (AHD), you may be familiar with the Review section at the back of the document. Many people may have not had a look at their AHD since it was made and for some people, this may be over ten years ago!

There is a handy section at the back of the document that lets you sign and date to confirm that you have read the document and there is nothing you would like to change. Obviously, if your wishes have changed since you filled it out, you can complete a new document, but if there are no changes needed, it is a simple cost-effective way to update the AHD.

Why bother?
You may wonder why you would bother signing the review section. Surely, if there are no changes needed then the AHD is fine to leave as is, right?

One benefit of keeping your AHD current is that a Health Provider can be relieved from liability for failing to follow a direction in an AHD if the Health Provider has reasonable grounds to believe that circumstances (including advances in medical science) have changed to the extent that your directions in the AHD are inappropriate. You can see that it would be easier to suggest the direction in the AHD is not appropriate due to advances in medical science if the AHD is ten or more years old!

If the AHD is up to date and the review section was only signed six months ago, the presumption would be that you were aware of current medical science and still chose to make the directions in the AHD.

Signing the review is also helpful for family and friends, who may be unsure if the directions in the AHD still reflect your wishes (particularly if you have made some comments in discussions over the years that may be contrary to what is written in an AHD signed many years ago).