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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
One part of advance care planning that is often unseen is law. Yet law plays an important role in end-of-life care. Professor Ben White and Professor Lindy Willmott from Queensland University of Technology explains the legal aspects of planning for advance care and end of life, and how the Australian Centre for Health Law Research supports health professionals.
Health professionals need to know the law that governs withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. Law is not at the centre of the clinical encounter, but it is part of the regulatory framework that governs these decisions. Failure to know and follow the law puts health professionals and their patients at risk. But we know there are gaps in health professionals’ legal knowledge in this area and this is not surprising either, given how complex and difficult this field of law is.