Advance Care Plan Day and Dying Matters Awareness Week

Health / Wed 8th May 2024 at 07:13am

IF you were unable to look after yourself or were approaching the end of your life, what would you do? Do you know what care you would like to receive?

It can be a difficult subject to think about, especially if you are fit and well. It is not a thought that we find easy to talk about.

But thinking about how you would want to be cared for and what you would want to happen when you die are important conversations to have, so that your loved ones and health professionals know your wishes.

Today is the UK’s first national Advance Care Plan Day, which aims to encourage every adult to think about having an Advance Care Plan in place. It is also Dying Matters Week, which encourages everyone to feel more comfortable talking about their wishes for the end of their lives.

Advance care planning can take place before someone becomes ill.

Your Advance Care Plan is a written statement that sets out your wishes, preferences and values about your care.

The focus is about you sharing what is important to you and allows you to have a voice, even if unable to verbalise your wishes. You can decide who else should be involved in your plan, and you can update it any time.

You can write one with or without support from a health or a social care professional.

An Advance Care Plan is not a legal document, but can help anyone who may need to support you or make decisions in your best interests in the future.

Tracy Reed, Clinical Lead for End of Life Care at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Planning for the end of our lives is just as important as planning how we want to live our lives.

“Talking about dying with our loved ones while we are well lets us express our wishes and personal preferences. It helps your loved ones to understand your thoughts, fears, and what matters to you, so they can support you and your priorities.

“Planning ahead can make it easier to prepare for difficult decisions at the end of your life, when you may not be able to take part in those discussions and make decisions yourself.

“We all hope that we don’t need to worry about this for a long time. But having a plan can give us peace of mind for the future, so we can concentrate on living our lives for as long as possible.”

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