It is difficult to start planning and thinking about organising your future care, health and wishes. Here you can find useful information about advance care planning:
What is advance care planning?
Advance care planning (ACP) is really about thinking ahead for your own lifetime from today, through your future life, to the end of it. It is the process of having conversations, organising and capturing your wishes and importantly sharing them.
ACP can cover a few key issues or be more detailed. These can relate to your health and care but also to your finances and assets.
When should I think about advance care planning?
It is good to think about advance care planning at any time, but particularly after a diagnosis, a recurrence, or a hospital admission. These are good times to start or to review a plan.
What issues does advance care planning include?
- Define and share what really matters to you. If a health decision needs to be made in the future, and if you are not well enough to make the decision, your loved ones or Attorneys will be consulted by the professional who has to make a decision. They can tell them what matters most to you. The medical decision that best matches your personal values and wishes can then be made
- Consider who would act on your behalf and whether you would like to make a lasting power of attorney
- Make space for the process to continue. This means that planning ahead isn't an event, it's a process. It's a conversation to begin, put aside, pick up again, review
What resources can help me to get started?
There are several excellent resources to help simplify the planning process:
- MyWishes is a comprehensive online tool which supports people on a range of issues according to preference including writing a will, planning for healthcare and even leaving messages for loved ones. Thjere are facilities to share your whole plan or just some of your wishes with family and friends.
- Hospice UK and Dr Kathryn Mannix have recently launched a simple planning ahead tool to support people to think about the pros and cons of being cared for at home, or in hospital towards the end of life. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete online. You can then download or print your answers to share with those close to you
What are the key documents?
- Lasting power of attorney
- A will
- A statement of wishes captures your wishes about what matters and will help your loved ones make decisions on your behalf in the future. This isn't legally binding and you can change your mind at any time.
- An advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT) is a legally binding document that allows you to state that certain treatments would be unacceptable in the future