Many people faced with long-term or degenerative health conditions find that they do not know how to ask the important questions or make the decisions about the care or treatment options they are given by professionals. Consequently, they either receive treatment they do not want or they cannot get the care they would like to have.
Advance care decisions and advance care planning enable people to record information about the care or treatment they would like to receive in the future. They can help you make sure people know about your wishes by talking about them. By writing your advance statement down, you can help to make things clear to your family, carers, health care professionals and anybody else involved in your care. An advance care statement can cover any aspect of your future health or social care. This could include how you want any religious or spiritual beliefs to be reflected in your care, how you like to do things, for example if you prefer a shower instead of a bath, or if you like to sleep with the light on, or concerns about practical issues, for example who will look after your dog if you become ill.
Taking Control: A practical guide and tool for advance care planning provides a brief description of the legal framework for health care decision making, gives guidance on how to ask for information to help with care decisions, and outlines a suggested framework for the documentation of advanced care planning.