Planning Ahead


We all need an Advance Care Plan

*Thinking ahead, discussing with others and writing things down means that your wishes are known and respected, and you’re more likely to receive the kind of care you want in the place you choose if you become unwell, or if you could no longer speak for yourself.

*An Advance Care Plan sets out how you wish to be cared for should you be unable to make decisions at the time you need care. Your Care Plan shows how you want to be looked after and what treatments you want or don’t want in the case of serious illness.

*An Advance Care Plan is a short document registered with your GP practice that states your wishes for future care should you become incapacitated through illness or accident. The care plan is then made available to all the professionals who might deal with you in such a situation – doctors, paramedics, community nurses, carers - so that everyone understands your wishes.

*If you have a long-term illness or simply want to plan ahead in case of unforeseen circumstances, this guide and the website links will help you set up an Advance Care Plan.

This leaflet describes the elements of a care plan and applies throughout the United Kingdom.

Advance Care Planning is a very simple process in 5 steps with 5 key elements

5 Simple Steps

5 Key Elements to think about:

1. Advance Statement

You can write down your Personal Care Plan with information about you and your lifestyle, including your thoughts, preferences and wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care.

This is known as an Advance Statement. It is not legally binding but anyone involved with or making decisions about your care must take it into account if you were unable to tell them yourself.

There are other decisions you may wish to make that you should also include

  • Contact details for relatives and other interested parties – particularly if they are your named spokesperson or representative for a Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Your religious preferences including your spiritual adviser
  • Whether you have a Will and where it is held
  • Decisions about organ and tissue donation
  • Decisions you have made about your funeral
  • Any other important wishes

2. Your Right to Refuse Treatment

The Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) is a legally binding written decision outlining any decision you make to refuse specific treatment. In an ADRT you can:

  • say which treatments you don't want to receive if that time comes
  • say in what circumstances you would refuse treatment
  • refuse treatment that could potentially keep you alive (such as a ventilator)

You cannot use an ADRT to request to end your life.

If you want to make an ADRT, you must discuss it with your health professional so that your wishes are properly recorded and legally binding on healthcare professionals that might treat you in the future.

3. Do Not Attempt Resuscitation

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a treatment that aims to start breathing and blood flow in people who have stopped breathing or whose heart has stopped beating. In your Care Plan you can make clear any circumstances in which you would wish to refuse CPR. This is called a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decision.

4. Planning for Emergencies

You can also use your Care Plan to identify how you would like to be treated if there is a medical emergency such as a stroke, or accident, and you are unable to express choices. Like and ADRT this should be made in discussion with your doctor or a health professional you trust and who knows your medical history.

5. Naming a Spokesperson or appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney

A Spokesperson is someone you ask to speak on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. They should be someone who knows and understands your preferences and wishes. This not a legally binding position, but they can advise about decisions around your care.

The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which authorises someone else (often a relative or relatives) to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to.

  • An LPA for health and welfare gives someone else the right to make decisions about your healthcare and other aspects of your welfare. For example, decisions about medical treatment or moving into a care home. It also allows them to access your health records.
  • An LPA for financial matters or property and financial affairs allows someone to make decisions about your money and property for you. For example, managing your bank account

The law on Lasting Power of Attorney differs slightly between England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

What to do now

Speak to your GP or health professional that knows your medical history. Your Advance Care Plan can be changed at any time and will be reviewed with you every year to ensure it reflects your wishes. This is your ACP Care Plan please keep a copy in your house.

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