By talking to the people who are important to you about what you would like to happen if you become ill in the future, you give them guidance, confidence and strength in case you they have to speak or make decisions for you. If healthcare professionals know your wishes, you’re more likely to get the care you want.
You can talk about anything that is important to you. You may want to discuss matters such as:
- How you might want any religious or spiritual beliefs you hold to be reflected in your care
- The name of a person/people you wish to act on your behalf at a later time (see Power of Attorney section)
- Your choice about where you would like to be cared for, for example at home, in a hospital, nursing home or a hospice
- How you like to do things, for example preferring a shower instead of a bath or sleeping with the light on
- Concerns or solutions about practical issues, for example who will look after your dog if you become ill
- Your understanding of your illness and how you think it might progress over time
- The aspects of your life that matter most to you, and where your own personal health sits in relation to this. For example, would you like to attend your grandson’s wedding even if it might be detrimental to your long-term health? Would you like doctors to prolong your life for as long as possible even if this causes you some discomfort, or might there come a time when you want to be made comfortable and let nature take its course?
- any preferences you have for the type of care or treatment that might be beneficial in the future, and whether these preferences are likely to be available.
- Your thoughts on different treatments or types of care that you might be offered
- Your thoughts on anticipatory care planning, organ donation, advanced statements and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation as outlined elsewhere on this website
If you become unable to make a decision yourself, this information will help those caring for you to make decisions on your behalf. Being involved in writing this information down is a good idea, and the document Making plans for my future care may help you to structure your thoughts and give you some ideas about the kind of things you’d like to talk about.