Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights is for everyone. It's a guide to how you should be treated during your care.

It aims to help patients, their families, carers and other support people get the most out of their health care.

Making your health decisions

Advance care planning is thinking about and making choices now that will guide your future care.

Some people have strong beliefs about what they want to happen with their care in the future. If you do, it's important to make your plans and wishes are known now.

You might need to make some tough decisions while you're in hospital. These could be about your treatment and care if you are seriously ill or facing the end of life.

We encourage you to discuss options with your health care team, family and carers.

It’s important for you to give clear instructions about your preferences and beliefs. You should also let your family and health care team know about any advance health directives or power of attorney that you've made.

Understanding advance care planning

It can be confusing and difficult to understand the differences between advance care planning documents used.

The Queensland Government have developed a comparison table. It'll help you understand the difference between each type of document to help you decide which one is right for you and your circumstances.

Read more about understanding advance care planning.

Organ and tissue donation

You can register to donate your organs or tissue when you die. Make sure you tell your family and friends if you want to be a donor.

You can read more about organ donation on the Australian Government Organ and Tissue Authority website. You can also be a living donor. You can include your wishes in advance care planning.

Raise concerns about a patient's health (Ryan's Rule)

Ryan's Rule is a 3-step process to support patients of any age, their families and carers. It's used to raise concerns if a patient's health condition is getting worse or not improving as well as expected.

Read more about the Ryan's Rule escalation process on the Clinical Excellence Queensland website.

Right to information

The Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act) aim to make more information available. It gives equal access to information across all sectors of the community, and appropriate protection for individuals' privacy.

You can read more in the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011.

Informed consent

By law, your doctor, nurse and other health workers must ask you for your permission before you have a test, treatment or procedure.

You can choose to have it or not.

When you give informed consent, it means you understand your health issue and agree to having the test, treatment or procedure.

Giving consent

If you’re 18 or over, you can give consent in most cases. Your treating team will talk to you about your circumstances.

If you’re under 18, your parent, guardian or carer will usually need to give consent. You can only give consent yourself if you fully understand your treatment and the effect it can have on your health. Your treating team will check if you can give consent.

Get information

To help you decide whether you want to have a test, treatment or procedure, your health worker will give you information about your issue.

You can also get information by asking questions such as:

  • do I really need it?
  • what are the risks?
  • are there simpler, safer options?
  • what happens if I don't do anything?
  • what are the costs?

You can ask for as much information as you need to decide.

You can also tell the health worker if there is anything you don’t want to know about the test, treatment or procedure.

If English is your second language and you use interpreting services, you can have interpreters go to the appointments with you.

Make a decision

If it's not an emergency, you may have time to decide. In an emergency situation, you may need to make a decision more quickly.

If you’re still unsure, talk to your health worker.

Give consent

You may only need to tell your health worker that you agree to the treatment. For high risk treatments, like surgery, your health worker will ask you to sign a consent form.

Changing your mind

You can always change your mind, even if you had signed a consent form or told your treating team that you agree to tests or treatment.

Feedback, compliments and complaints

Your feedback is important to us. It helps us know where we need to improve and what we’re doing well.

If you have a compliment, complaint or suggestion, please complete the online feedback form.

Last updated: February 2023