In an advance care plan or ACP, you can outline which treatments you would and would not want to be given, and how you would like to be cared for in the last days of your life, if you were too unwell to explain your wishes yourself. The aim is to give control over end of life care and to record your wishes clearly before becoming unwell. Similarly to making a Will whilst all is well, this is psychologically much easier and allows you to give some thought to the plan in the abstract, without the time pressure and stresses of dealing with a terminal illness.
An advance care plan needs to be made in writing whilst you have full mental capacity, and to be signed and dated by you. It only becomes active if you lose mental capacity to make your own decisions, and you can update it at any time. It should be registered with your GP practice and you should also keep two signed copies at home – one to go into hospital with you if necessary, and the other to hand for any emergency responders to review.
Local GP, opthalmologist at Stoke Mandeville and bereavement councillor Lyn Jenkins has recently set up a website called “In my own bed, please” in partnership with Chiltern Compass, which helpfully offers an advanced care planning service free of charge to anyone in the Chiltern area who may be interested in making an ACP. You can find the website and a suitable ACP template here. The team also generously offer to review completed forms.
When I first started out in Private Client work over 20 years ago, solicitors used to make what I would call ‘living Wills’ or ‘advance decisions’ along these lines regularly for clients, but these days I almost never make them. I think that is probably because to some extent they have been superseded by the popular and useful lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, although they do not cover exactly the same ground. However, advance care plans still have an important role to play, and I would encourage anyone interested to check out Dr Jenkins’ website on advance care planning.
Chiltern Wills is a Will writing business based in Beaconsfield and run by former London solicitor, Rebecca D’Arcy. For a free initial discussion about how Chiltern Wills can help with your Will or lasting powers of attorney, email us on email@example.com or call 01494 708688.