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Advance Decisions can be referred to as ‘Living Wills’ but are the same thing. An Advance Decision allows you to indicate how you wish to be cared for and treated in certain situations.
- if you become unconscious and are unlikely to regain consciousness
- you suffer from an incurable or irreversible condition
- you have a condition or disability which means that you are totally dependent on another permanently
Advance Decisions can only be used when you lack the capacity to make or communicate your own decisions. You are able to refuse medical treatment in the future but this has its limits. You can’t use an Advance Decision to:
- refuse food and drink by mouth or basic care. This is because these things are a basic human right that no one can decline;
- ask for an assisted death, because this is against the law;
- demand certain treatments.
This is an important document that needs to be treated like an insurance policy. You take it out in the hope that you do not need to use it but safe in the knowledge that it is there ready in the event that you do.
It is appropriate to put this document in place if you have strong views around how your care and/or treatment is to be administered in certain circumstances.
Let’s be honest though, most people have not thought about this in detail and it can be hard to state in advance what you would like to happen. As an alternative, you may instead think about nominating someone else you trust to ‘step into your shoes’ and make decisions about your treatment on your behalf in the event that you become unable to make your own decisions. This allows you to ensure that someone is representing your best interests whilst not needing you to be overly detailed if you would prefer not to. Please follow the link to learn more: “Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.”
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