Image of an older woman who is outside and looking directly at the camera

Call for law to place older people at centre of decisions

The Older Persons Advocacy Network is calling for supported decision-making to be embedded into aged care and enshrined in Australian law.

Published: 21 November 2022
  • National
  • 21 November 2022
  • Australian Ageing Agenda

In a position paper released this week, OPAN voiced its support for the right for older people to make decisions about the care and services they receive and recognising this right under a legislative framework.

 OPAN CEO Craig Gear told Australian Ageing Agenda that, while there has been much talk in Australia about supported decision-making over the years, it has never been formally realised.

“In Australia, while we’ve had some research done in the past around supported decision-making – there was also a recommendation of the [aged care] royal commission to embed supported decision-making – we actually haven’t rolled it out as a framework.”

Supported decision-making aims to assist people to stay involved in the decision-making process about their healthcare and is an alternative model to using a substitute decision-maker.

Legally appointed, a substitute decision-maker can be a:

  • spouse or de facto spouse

  • unpaid carer

  • nearest relative or friend who has a close personal relationship with the person.