No one person knows someone else completely. No matter how close we are to someone else, there may still be parts of us that they do not know; our experiences, our feelings, how we cope and our thoughts today. We are individual in our thoughts, our values and our choices.
Advance Decisions and Advance Statements give us an opportunity to guide our care.
- An Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment is a legally binding document where a person can specify their wishes to refuse life sustaining treatment in particular circumstances.
- An Advance Statement is not legally binding but is a narrative by a person explaining what is significant and helps to guide care and treatment.
These documents only come into effect if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself (this could be from something like dementia or a stroke). They are valuable tools to ensure our care is personalised to reflect our individual needs, what is important to us, what nurtures us and the values that have determined the person we have become.These documents are our voice long after our physical voice has been lost.
It is our legal right to refuse treatment. It is also our right to state in advance the care and treatment we feel meets our individual needs and which supports our values and beliefs in order to maintain our individuality and quality of life.
It is important that we record our wishes and values – otherwise, who will know?
My Life, My Decision Project Coordinator South Tyneside