Create an Advance Health Care Directive

Once you have determined your values, wishes and beliefs through the Advance Care Planning process and have identified a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM), the next step is completing an Advance Health Care Directive or AHCD.

  • An AHCD is a written document that allows you to outline your instructions about future health-care decisions.
  • This document also identifies your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) and allows your appointed SDM to act in accordance with your wishes and written instructions.

Your AHCD only comes into effect when you can no longer speak for yourself.


The NL Advance Health Care Directives Act sets out the requirements for creating a legally valid AHCD.

  • In order for your AHCD to be valid, you must be 16 years of age or older and have the ability to make health-care decisions.
  • The AHCD must be in writing, include your signature, and be witnessed by two (2) independent witnesses.
  • Your SDM must be least 19 years of age and must accept this responsibility in writing.

Please provide a copy of your AHCD to your health-care team so it can be kept with your chart. If you have not yet completed an AHCD, please discuss with your health-care team.

The health-care team will also discuss your AHCD and Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) with you upon admission to a health-care facility or when you access services.

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Last updated: 2023-03-21