In life we prepare for many things – birth, education, marriage and retirement. We may also wish to prepare for a time of failing health and approaching end of life.
This is called planning ahead or advance care planning. It covers any decision that people wish to make in advance of a change or deterioration in their health. It can include thoughts and wishes about future care, medical care and management, personal wishes and anything that people would want their family or carers to know if they are ever in a situation where they are unable to say for themselves.
Planning ahead is voluntary and decisions need not be made all in one go it might be just about making a start. Furthermore if decisions are made, people can change their minds about these at any time.
It can be difficult to discuss such issues, but for some people and families, this may be very important. Having a clear sense of someone’s wishes and doing as much as possible to plan ahead can give someone the freedom to get on with living now.
Medical, nursing and care teams are able to give guidance and advice; should you wish to talk this through with your doctor or nurse, do make an appointment.
The following resources and websites may be helpful.
Advance decisions to refuse treatment
Planning ahead –online tool www.mydecisions.org.uk
Understanding CPR decisions
Making decisions and wishes in advance
Making a Lasting power of Attorney
Treatment escalation plans eg. ReSPECT www.respectprocess.org.uk