Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning
Care for people at the end of their lives may be complex and often involves input from many different health and social care professionals working within the NHS and independent sector.
At Willowbrook we have a dedicated End of Life Care Champions who works as part of the Quality Team, an integrated team that also includes members of St Helen’s Council and Clinical Commissioning Group to support the education and training of health and social care professionals working in the hospice, the community and in Care Homes within St Helens. This role plays a key part in enabling and empowering health and social care professionals to deliver best practice end of life care in their organisations. They ensure that patient choices regarding their priorities for care are integral to care planning.
Advance care planning is a process of discussion between an individual and their care providers and is a way of deciding what plans you want to make for your future care. This may take place when a person’s condition begins to deteriorate or whenever a person is thinking about their future care. It may also be referred to as a living will, advance decision, advance directive or advance statement, these documents are not legally binding.
Many of us prefer to avoid thinking about serious illness or ageing and fear that we will lose the control to make decisions about our future care if this happens.
Thinking ahead and writing down what matters to you can be a daunting process. However, if your preferences and choices are not discussed or documented, then it is difficult for the people around you to know what is important to you and take these choices into consideration.
It may be difficult to talk with family members and occasionally there may be disagreements, however, these conversations can help decisions that may be needed in the future, sometimes at a time of crisis. A member of your health care team may also be a good idea to talk to if required by some people.
Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA)
Another consideration may be arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This enables you to give another person permission to make decisions on your behalf regarding your property/affairs AND/OR your health/welfare. Although an LPA that is nominated for your personal welfare is only used when you lack the capacity to make your own decisions.
The Office of Public Guardian (OPG) will supply a form to enable an LPA to be appointed.
Advance Decision to refuse treatment (ADRT)
During an ACP discussion, it may be decided that a person states a specific treatment in certain circumstances would be refused. For example, if they are terminally ill and expected to die within a few days, then a person can state they do not want to be treated with antibiotics if they get an infection. They cannot, however, insist on medical treatment, this is entirely a medical decision.
An ADRT does not have to be in writing unless it relates to a refusal of treatment that may keep a person alive. This document is legally binding but can be withdrawn at any time if a person changes their mind.