There may come a time when you become unwell and can’t tell the people around you what you do and don’t want. Planning ahead is a way to record your wishes so that if you’re ever in this situation, your wishes are known about and can be followed. This section explains the different options for planning ahead.
The information in this section applies to people living in England and Wales. There are different laws that help people make decisions about medical treatment and care in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Planning ahead gives you control over your future treatment and care and reassurance that the right decisions will be made.
An Advance Decision (Living Will) allows you to write down any medical treatments that you don’t want to have in the future, in case you later become unable to make or communicate decisions for yourself.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (LPA) allows you to give someone you trust the legal power to make decisions on your behalf in case you later become unable to make decisions for yourself.
You can have both an Advance Decision (Living Will) and an LPA, but each has different rules, and the one that you made more recently will take priority.
You can use an Advance Statement to record your wishes, feelings, beliefs and values in case you later become unwell and need care or medical treatment.
If you’re nearing the end of life, you can record your treatment and care wishes in an Advance Care Plan.
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).