Advance Care Planning


 Advance care planning

Have you ever thought about what would happen if you or a relative became seriously ill or disabled?

 Regrettably we often fail to address these issues until it is too late to do anything about them.

 For example, if you (or a relative) lost the ability to make decisions about your finances or health – do you know what would happen?

 Another situation is resuscitation – lots of people have quite clear views that, when the time comes, they want to be allowed ‘to go naturally’ – however if this not clearly documented (in the form of an ‘allow natural death’ form) then resuscitation will always be attempted.

 These are difficult subjects to think about for many of us and also to talk about, and that is both completely understandably and completely acceptable.

If however you do want to think about this, then I’ve listed some areas to consider, and some helpful links too.

 Here at the Wellbridge Practice, all of our GP’s are committed to providing the best possible care, and if you would like to discuss any of these areas in more detail, then please make a routine appointment to do so.

 1. Lasting power of attorney

This is a legal document that lets you nominate one (or more) people to make financial or health decisions for you, if you loose the ability to do so. This is particularly relevant for people who develop dementia, but can apply in other situations too.

 This has to be completed whilst you still have the ‘capacity’ to do so. So it’s never too early to think about it. And remember, no matter how early you make this, the people you nominate can only make decisions for you when/if you no longer can.

 2. Advance care plan

 This is a booklet that you can fill in to let other people know what your wishes are in certain situations e.g. if you got very poorly, whether you would want to go into hospital or be cared for at home.

 We have copies of these available in the surgery, or you can download a copy at: Dorset - planning for your future care

 3. Advance decision to refuse treatment

 It is possible to make an advance decision to refuse a specific treatment, in specific circumstances e.g. if you had a stroke and were unable to eat/drink – you could refuse to have a feeding tube fitted

 4. ‘Allow a natural death’

 If you have a clear view that you would not want resuscitation to be attempted, then you can discuss this with your GP, who can complete the relevant form.

 Please remember that making a decision to allow a natural death does NOT mean that your regular medical treatment will stop. Your GP will continue to ensure that you get the highest level of care we always strive to deliver, regardless of this decision.

 5. For an overview of advance care planning and all it entails

 6. Care plans at The Wellbridge Practice

 For certain of our frailer patients or patients at high risk of admission to hospital, we have recently started completing care plans. These not only give you a chance to tell your GP what your wishes are, but allow a record of these wishes and plans to be available to the out of hours services too. These are in addition to any of the documents listed above. If you feel that you should have a care plan, and have not yet been approached about this, then don’t hesitate to let your GP know.

 Dr Laura Godfrey

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