An Advance Decision (Living Will)

Let’s talk about Advance Decisions.

Advance Decisions are sometimes known as an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) or often known as a Living Will.

Most of us understand the importance of writing a Will in which we record what happens to our money, possessions and property in the event of our death but many don’t consider an Advance Decision.

An Advance Decision is a document which details what medical care you would like to receive in certain medical crisis or events should you not have the capacity or ability to communicate them for yourself. An example of the questions asked in an Advance Decision include whether you would want to receive life-sustaining treatment such as CPR, artificial ventilation and/or assisted nutrition or hydration in the event of a serious brain injury, dementia, diseases of the central nervous system and terminal illness.

When you complete and sign your Advance Decision and have it signed by a witness it provides a legally binding document.Importantly it clearly communicates your wishes to loved ones (and medical staff) in a time of crisis when people may be experiencing overwhelm and in a highly emotional state.

It can be a real gift to your loved ones when your wishes are clearly communicated and can help avoid any conflict or confusion over how to proceed with your medical care.

Though some of us may discuss what decisions we would like made for us at the end of life with our loved ones other family members or close relatives who haven’t heard this discussion may have different views. And some families never talk about this subject at all which may leave loved ones second guessing what your wishes may have been.

The best time to complete an Advance Decision is now – we never know what lies in store for us today, tomorrow, next week or next year.

Compassion In Dying provide an online service should you wish to complete one (www.compassionindying.org.uk) or, if you would prefer to have a conversation about the questions involved then I can support you with that.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch should you wish to discuss this further.

Next, I will talk about the importance of writing an Advance Care Plan.

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