What is an Advance Decision?Smart Will
What is an Advance Decision?
An advance decision or ‘living Will’ as it used to be known is a method of letting people know about your wishes regarding treatment in the future if you are not able to communicate them yourself.
Often known in care circles as an Advance Decision Regarding Treatment (ADRT) they are a useful method of asking healthcare professionals to respect your wishes.
It is possible to confuse these with Advance Statements but it is important to note that the two are very different in one important aspect; An ADRT is legally binding whereas an Advance Statement is simply advisory.
What things can be covered in a Living Will?
It is possible to make decisions now about your care in the future.
You can choose for instance to not have your life sustained by a ventilator or to be resuscitated by CPR or defibrillation.
Similarly, you can choose not to have other life-sustaining care such as feeding tubes or drips administered.
The important thing is that the treatments you’re deciding to refuse must all be named in the advance decision.
By the same token, if you have different wishes for different situations then these must be clearly set out.
For example, you may be happy to have CPR administered at most times but not if you have been put on a ventilator first.
You can refuse life-sustaining treatment however you cannot ask for someone to end your life as euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in the UK.
How do you make an advance decision?
If you think that this is what you want to do then you should discuss it with your doctor.
They will be able to give you some practical points to think about, especially if you are setting out different conditions.
You will then need to write down (or dictate) your decision or fill in a form. The charity Compassion in dying has a form here that you can download.
Your decision will need to be signed by you and then witnessed by someone who can say that you actually did sign it yourself and weren’t pressured into anything.
Once you have completed the document you should let your family and doctor know that there is an ADRT in force and you can ask to have a copy kept on your medical records.
How does an Advance Decision Help?
By making this form of ‘living Will’ you are able to ensure that your wishes are heard and understood.
An advance decision means that;
- Your wishes are clearly expressed
- You have peace of mind knowing that you won’t be kept alive against your will.
- Your family and doctors know exactly what your wishes are
- It is legally binding; doctors can’t simply choose to do something different
Making a Living Will isn’t for everyone but for some people they provide much-needed peace of mind.
If you are thinking about this step then we hope that this post has helped to give you some valuable points to think about.
If you wish to make a standard will for yourself or you and your partner, download the Smart Will App here.