Living with a life-limiting and progressive illness isn’t easy and many people will feel very anxious about the future, with respect to themselves and sometimes even more so, about family members and friends. With Advance Care Planning you can benefit from improved end of life care as well as achieving reduced stress and anxiety for bereaved relatives.
Talking about the future and considering your future care needs may feel a very daunting task, but staff at the Rowans Hospice are here to help and support you in creating plans that are unique to your needs. This may include a formal Advance Care Plan document which will record your wishes and preferences and help you receive the care and support you would wish even if at some point you become unable to express your wishes. It can include documentation of treatment you would not want to receive and describe your preferences for place of treatment and care.
At Rowans Hospice, we can facilitate open conversations with your family and those who care for you. It is important to inform other health care professionals too, so everyone involved in your care knows your wishes. Our team is available to offer help and support to begin thinking and talking about your future care needs and will do all they can to ensure your wishes are then followed.
Nursing staff and other members of the clinical team, including psychologists and the Spiritual Care Chaplain, can help you and your family talk this through and help formulate your advance care plan. This can be undertaken at home or alongside others through sessions available through the Rowans Living Well Services.
As part of your Advance Care Planning, you can inform those who are looking after you about the problems you are experiencing and what treatment or actions will help.
You can also further develop your advance care plan with an ADRT (Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment), which records specific types of medical treatment, which our team can offer you guidance and support with.
Our doctors and nurses can clarify the types of treatment you may be offered and how these options will affect you, as well as identifying how realistic they are and what alternatives may be possible. The refusal of treatment requires your signature and the signature of a witness, which could be a family member or a friend.
If you become too unwell to make decisions yourself, advance care planning will help those who care for you to make decisions on your behalf. Your advance care plan can be further developed by formally granting a family member or friend power of attorney. Therefore, if a situation arises where a decision needs to be made about your care and it was not covered in your advance care plan, healthcare professionals will reach out to your appointed person and ask them to make decisions that they believe would be in your best interest.
The appointed person can also manage your property, finances, and any other assets. For more information on the lasting power of attorney, see the government’s website. A Citizens Advice Service is also available through the Rowans Living Well Services if more help is needed.
If you have not appointed someone to make decisions about your care and you become too unwell to make the decision yourself, doctors and nurses will decide what is in your best interests alongside family and other people who are important to you.
Once you have created your advance care plan, keep it somewhere safe, but also give a copy to all health care professionals, family and friends who are involved with your care.
Your GP can take key information from the plan and insert it in your record in a dedicated “escalation plan” section, if you give your practice permission, they will share that information to a shared care record which can be read by anyone who might be called on to attend you (for example ambulance crews or doctors and nurses providing advice and support).
If you would like any further help on advance care planning, contact us on: email@example.com or through the Life-Line’, a support and advice line to support patients, family members, friends, carers and the bereaved through the Rowans Living Well Services. Direct Dial: 023 9224 8011 (open 10:00 – 16:00, Monday – Sunday).