Deciding right – planning your care in advance
Find out about a campaign to help patients think about what care they may want to receive should they become seriously ill, disabled or unable to make decisions for themselves.
Deciding Right puts patients in control at the end of their life
Deciding Right – Planning your care in advance aims to help patients think about what care they may want to receive in the future should they become seriously ill, disabled or unable to make decisions for themselves.
Caring for someone at the end of their life is a sensitive and often difficult subject to discuss. Not everyone will choose to talk about this, but for those who want to plan their care in advance, the Deciding Right guide will help them to think about their future treatment and make their wishes known.
Planning care in advance puts patients in control of deciding where they want to spend their final weeks and days, helping them to look at what options are available, what pain relief they may want and how to make their wishes known if they want to refuse a specific treatment. The earlier this is discussed, the greater the chance people’s choices are met with a death free of pain in a preferred place of care. The care plan can be amended at any time.
An ‘emergency health care plan’ (EHCP) will be agreed with each patient together with clinicians involved in their care and any relatives or carers where appropriate. The EHCP will inform healthcare professionals of the patient’s wishes and any treatment they should receive.
The original EHCP document will remain with the patient at all times to ensure that the document can be quickly accessed by whoever is treating or caring for them, including acute hospitals, the GP out of hours service and ambulance staff.
The EHCP includes:
- A record of who else to involve in the decision making (e.g. health professionals, next-of-kin, carers);
- Details of the patient’s condition and treatment;
- Instructions for the patient’s treatment in emergency situations;
- Confirmation if the patient has any ‘do not resuscitate’ instructions in place;
- A record of the patient’s wishes with respect to place of care/death and decisions regarding their treatment;
- Confirmation that the patient’s wishes have been shared with external organisations with the patient’s consent (e.g. out of hours service, community nurses, LOROS, secondary care consultants).
This initiative will improve the experience for patients and relatives by planning ahead to reduce distressing hospital admissions and ensuring patients’ remaining months are lived according to their wishes.
Anyone with a terminal illness, or who is worried about a loved one with life-limiting conditions such as end stage heart or lung disease, or dementia or incurable cancer, is encouraged to talk to their GP, consultant or community nurse about Deciding Right.
Find out more on Deciding Right – Planning your care in advance, in this helpful guide (PDF, 1.2MB).