Your Advance Care Plan is an important statement and record of your wishes, and can include things like:
- your preferences about your ongoing care and support
- where you would like to be cared for at the end of your life
- how any distressing symptoms should be managed
- which elements of care you would like to receive
It also gives you the chance to tell people your special requests and any personal arrangements you may wish to make, such as who will look after your pet.
Your Advance Care Plan is not legally binding and can be changed at any time. However, most NHS, Social Care and private sector providers such as care home will normally endeavour to respect your wishes as far as practicable, though it may be a good idea to arrange for a check regarding any particular organisation’s policies.
If you want to include specific decisions about refusing treatment or care in advance, you can complete an ‘Advance Directive to refuse treatment’. Importantly, this is a legally binding document. You may also want to consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney, where you give another person legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. .
You should think carefully about your wishes concerning things like resuscitation, and discuss them with your family and care team. It is up to you of course whether you include resuscitation wishes in your Advance Care Plan. If you do include them, it is important that you discuss your wishes with your district nurse or GP and keep any related documentation together so that people who care for you can access them if required.
You can also add the contact details of people who care for you in your Advance Care Plan so that they are easily to hand if they are needed.
In Surrey and Kent, Advance Care Planning documents are known as the ‘Thinking Ahead’ Yellow Folders. The contents of the folders may vary from person to person, but the minimum is:
- information about advance care planning
- an Advance Care Plan
- information about cardio-pulmonary resuscitation