Objectives A drive to promote advance care planning at a population level has led to a proliferation of online advance care directive (ACD) templates but little information to guide consumer choice. The current study aimed to appraise the quality of online ACD templates promoted for use in Australia.

Methods A systematic review of online Australian ACD templates was conducted in February 2014. ACD templates were identified via Google searches, and quality was independently appraised by two reviewers against criteria from the 2011 report A National Framework for Advance Care Directives. Bias either towards or against future medical treatment was assessed using criteria designed to limit subjectivity.

Results Fourteen online ACD templates were included, all of which were available only in English. Templates developed by Southern Cross University best met the framework criteria. One ACD template was found to be biased against medical treatment – the Dying with Dignity Victoria Advance Healthcare Directive.

Conclusions More research is needed to understand how online resources can optimally elicit and record consumers’ individual preferences for future care. Future iterations of the framework should address online availability and provide a simple rating system to inform choice and drive quality improvement.


advance care planning, online advance care directive (ACD) templates, systematic review, A National Framework for Advance Care Directives

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