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How can I plan ahead to ensure my wishes are followed if I can’t make decisions in the future

You are here: Home » Making decisions and planning your care » How can I plan ahead to ensure my wishes are followed if I can’t make decisions in the future

There are steps you can take to ensure that your wishes are followed if you lose capacity. This section sets out the different ways you can plan ahead to record your wishes so that your family and friends know about them and so that healthcare professionals can act on them.

There are two ways you can make sure your wishes are respected in a legally binding way, if you lose capacity:

Your wishes can also be recorded and communicated through:

 

3.1 Why plan ahead?

Planning ahead is a crucial part of ensuring your wishes are respected. It tells healthcare professionals to how you want to be cared for if you become too ill to make decisions or speak for yourself.

3.2 Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment (Living Wills)

An Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (or Living Will) allows you to refuse treatment in advance of a time when you don’t have the capacity to make a decision for yourself.

3.3 Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives one or more trusted persons the legal power to make decisions about your health and welfare if you lose capacity.

3.4 Should I make a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Advance Decision, or both?

There are some important differences between an Advance Decision and an LPA.

3.5 Advance Statements

An Advance Statement is a general statement of what you want and what is important to you. It is usually written down and can contain any information you feel is important for others to know.

3.6 Advance Care Plans

Advance Care Plans will normally be made in partnership with your healthcare team when you enter the end-of-life phase. If you are near the end of life it is a good idea to make one so that people involved in your care know what is important to you.

3.7 DNAR forms

A DNAR (do not attempt resuscitation) form is a document issued and signed by a doctor, telling your medical team not to attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

3.8 My rights in Scotland

The relevant law in Scotland is different to England and Wales, because the Mental Capacity Act does not apply there. The equivalent legislation in Scotland is the Adults with Incapacity (2000) Act.

3.9 My rights in Northern Ireland

The law in Northern Ireland is different to England and Wales, because the Mental Capacity Act does not apply there.