Planning end of life care in advance

It can be hard to think about what you would choose if you were ever in the situation of requiring long-term or end of life care, especially if you are fit and well. Most people assume there is plenty of time to think about these things, for example, if they were to receive a troubling diagnosis. However, incapacitating illness can happen very suddenly (for example, as a result of a stroke or road traffic incident) and then it helps your family to know what your wishes would be in that circumstance and may make things easier for your children.

It is helpful to work out if you know what you would like your care to be, or if you would if you would rather leave the decisions about your care to your next of kin. Even if this is the case, we are told that most people would feel inadequately prepared to carry out someone else’s wishes, however close, without a previous conversation. So, part of this task is talking to the person or people you would want to carry out your wishes.

You can read good advice on the legal framework for setting out your preferences in advance, and guidance on setting out wishes for your general care, from the National Council for Palliative Care and from Age UK.

One example that can be filled in online, with helpful prompts, and then printed off for safe keeping is from the Law Depot: this is a free service but registration is required.

These can be lodged with your GP, with your will and in any Plan If box.

And a really beautiful work book to help with thinking about end of life care is available online here and on paper from Helen Sanderson Associates.