Advance care planning offers people the opportunity to plan their future care and support, including medical treatment, while they have the capacity to do so. Not everyone will want to make an advance care plan, but it may be especially relevant for:
- People at risk of losing mental capacity – for example, through progressive illness.
- People whose mental capacity varies at different times – for example, through mental illness.
The Mental Capacity Act provides a number of ways for people to plan their care and support in advance:
- Advance statements… are not legally binding but should be considered carefully when future decisions are being made. They can include any information the person considers important to their health and care.
- Lasting power of attorney… involves giving one or more people legal authority to make decisions about health and welfare, and property and finances.
- Advance decisions… are for decisions to refuse specific medical treatments and are legally binding.
We can help clients decide to make an informed choice about whether to make an advanced care plan. It should be entirely their decision. An advance care plan can cover areas such as the person’s thoughts on different types of care, support or treatment, financial matters, and how they like to do things (for example shower rather than bath).
Developing advance care plans
If the person decides that they want to create an advance care plan:
- Involve their family, friends or advocates such as ourselves
- Help them consider whether involving a healthcare professional could also be useful
- Take into account the person’s: history social circumstances wishes and feelings beliefs, including religious, cultural and ethnic factors
aspirations any other factors they feel are important. Help them think about how their needs might change in the future.
The person may need help to communicate during these discussions. Support might include: communication aids, advocacy through ourselves, interpreters, specialist speech and language therapy support, or involving family members or friends.
Recording and sharing advance care plans
It is critical to discuss and ensure a comprehensive summary of the discussion is made and check the person agrees and confirms. Provide a written record of their advance care plan, which they can also take to show various services.
- Ask if the person consents for their plan to be shared with relevant people. If they consent, ensure the plan is shared and transfer the plan if their care provider changes.
- Review the advance care plan whenever treatment or support is being reviewed, while the person has capacity. Consider whether it would be helpful to involve a healthcare professional. Make any changes requested, including to any copies.
- If the person is nearing the end of their life, ask if they would like to review their plan, or develop one if they haven’t already.
Contact our Anne Reed who will be able to help you create your Advance Care Plan or Advance Decision on 01822 610303.