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Living Wills

Wills are something that we are all familiar with but not many of us have thought about what happens before we die if, for example, we need medical care but may not be able to express our opinions on whether that care or intervention is acceptable to us.

Although we all hope to live a full and active life, ultimately passing away in our sleep the reality is often different and many of us will spend time in hospital. Living Wills or “advance directives/decisions” as they are sometimes known, indicate your desire to refuse some or all forms of medical treatment and under which circumstances you would want this to apply. An advance directive is prepared whilst you are mentally capable and is only used once you are no longer capable of taking part in the decision making process.

Without an advance directive, in certain circumstances, decisions might be made about your medical care without consideration of what you would prefer and choose for yourself. Of course clinical decisions remain with the medical profession but there are many other issues you can and should provide guidance on.

A witnessed document, such as an advance directive, makes sure that your wishes are considered. Alternatively you may have a valid Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare in place, authorising others to make decisions regarding your care needs and medical treatment.

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