Advance care planning
Anyone can make an advance care plan but it is particularly important for people who:
- are near the end of life
- are likely to lose capacity, for example if you have a diagnosis of dementia
- have strong feelings about specific treatments they do not want to be given if they lack mental capacity to make decisions
Different ways people can plan their care
An advance care plan should always be recorded in writing. If wishes are recorded they can be shared with loved ones and health and care professionals. This means peoples wishes are more likely to be known about and respected when it matters most.
The Mental Capacity Act outlines a few ways people can plan their care in advance:
- Living will (advance decision) – a form which lets someone refuse any medical treatments that they do not want to be given in the future.
- Health power of attorney – a legal document that lets people give someone they trust the power to make decisions for them.
- Advance statement – a form that lets someone record the care they want in the future.
Other ways to record treatment preferences
There are also clinician-led tools which may be included as part of an advance care plan. Depending on where you live these might include:
- Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR)
- Treatment Escalation Plan (TEP)
- Urgent Care Plan
- Great North Care Record
Advance care plans should be discussed and documented in someone’s medical record. It’s also very important they are shared and used when decisions about a person’s care need to be made.
Further information and support
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has a helpful guide to advance care planning. Our healthcare professionals hub also has some helpful resources, information and template forms to help you support your patients.
Next review due: 16 August 2024