The Benefits of Making an Living Will & Advance Decision
An Advance decision is the legally binding part of a Living Will.
Although it can be a little difficult to think about the care you receive at the end of your life, it is worth considering the impact on your loved ones of not leaving a detailed plan of how you wish to be cared for. This would put increased pressure on your loved ones to make difficult decisions at what is likely to be a very emotional and upsetting time for them. And according to the law all they can in fact do is to say what they think you would want. It also places greater pressure on the medical staff in charge of your care to make decisions based on your behalf, not knowing at all whether the decisions they are making are in keeping with what you would have wanted.
To not do so is frankly irresponsible.
By creating a Living Will you take the burden from your loved ones and make it crystal clear how you would like to be treated across the spectrum of medical care scenarios.
The advantages of organising an Advance Decision is clear. First and foremost, they respect the patient’s human rights and in particular, the important right to reject medical treatment. Creating them encourages families to discuss people’s end of life decisions, meaning that there will be a greater awareness of what care a person wants to receive, increasing the chances of them having the treatment they wish. It also greatly removes the stress and worry for family members who find themselves in the position of making decisions on behalf of a patient with no knowledge of whether they are acting as their loved one would have wanted.
You should decide what is in your Living Will (the legally binding part of which is called an Advance Decision). You may choose all possible treatments in order to prolong your life as much as possible, choose to be left in peace or anything in between- it’s up to you.