As an Adult (over the age of 18) you make your own decisions about your healthcare. But, what if you were unable to do so due to an accident or ill health?
An advance decision is something that you can put in place now to refuse specific types of medical treatment should you require them sometime in the future. These are sometimes known as a Living Will or an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT).
You must name every treatment that you wish to refuse in your advance decision. Similarly, you may want to refuse specific treatment in some situations but not in others, you must be clear about this writing your advance decision.
Deciding to refuse invasive and/or life-sustaining treatment, ventilation, CPR is not the same as asking someone to assist you in ending your life. Euthanasia is illegal in the UK.
Should you become unable to communicate – be that through mental or physical incapacity – you know that your Doctors and nurses are clear on the treatment that you do and do NOT wish to receive. This also removed the burden of making potentially traumatic decisions away from your loved ones.
You may find it useful to speak with your Doctor about the kinds of treatments you may be offered in the future.
You must have mental capacity at the time the Advance Decision (Living Will) is made. Your wishes must then be written down, by you and signed by you and a witness.
Providing your Advance Decision (Living Will) complies with the Mental Capacity Act, and applies to the situation then it is valid and legally binding. The AD then overrules any decisions made in your best interest by other people.
An Advance Decision may only be considered valid if: