Advance Decision

More and more people are having living wills drawn up. Living wills ensure that family members and healthcare providers know what to do if we ever lose the ability to speak for ourselves. Some treatments can extend lives without enhancing the quality of them, which is why some people do decide that they would rather be left alone if their standard of livings falls to a certain level. Once a living will is in place, there doesn’t need to be any room for confusion. Living wills are sometimes called heath care directives and can be used to tell others exactly which treatments you would like to receive and which ones you’d prefer to avoid. Respecting Your Wishes The UK Living Will Registry can help if you have decided to draw up a living will. They can provide you with in-depth guidance and support to ensure that nothing is forgotten. You can amend your will as many times as you like whilst you still have the capacity to communicate. A living will features a section called an Advance Decision that means your wishes are granted if you do lose the ability to speak for yourself. You can find out more about the UK Living Will Registry by heading to the...

The NHS must learn to be smarter

The NHS is at breaking-point due to underfunding. More money is needed to face the new challenges of an ageing population and worsening health. It is, however, far from the truth that the only correct response is more money. It is also the case that good care can cost less; and there is certainly space for large efficiency savings. One response, popular with the public, is to find new ways to treat patients near to their homes, and in them, rather than ferry them to expensive hospitals. Very often the services people want to receive are not to be found in hospitals, even if by refusing certain invasive treatments a patient’s life may be shortened. Realising this not only leads to increased patient satisfaction, but to savings that would not have been achieved otherwise. There are some powerful ideas that have the potential to transform modern healthcare. But these ideas have barely been tried by the NHS. We are confident that the NHS can meet modern challenges by finding greater value from the money it already spends. It is time that budget pressure was used as a catalyst to do things differently; to make improvements that, for whatever reason, were avoided in the halcyon days of plenty. The UK Living Will Registry which has recently launched, is already working to help increase the choice that people have about how, when and where they receive end of life care. The service we provide will become an important link in the overall system that will be needed to enable end-of-life choices to be acted upon. Further Reading...

Letter to Jeremy Hunt at the Dept. of Health

The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt   House of Commons London SW1A 0AA 07th October 2014       Dear Mr Hunt,   I was interested to hear that the government has set up an independent review into choices in end-of-life care. I have attached results from a survey that we recently conducted regarding Living Wills (also known as Advance Decisions) and end-of-life care, which you may find interesting, and instructive for your review.   We sit at an unparalleled juncture in history, in which most of us can expect to live to old age. Compare this to medieval Britain, where life expectancy was just 30 years. It is not uncommon now, however, to survive to middle age before personally experiencing the death of a loved one. Advances in modern medicine allow us to live well with chronic illness, but we also run the risk that the lives of frail older people are prolonged to the point where life becomes a burden. As medicine develops, so too does the ability to prolong life by artificial means. Machines to enable a person to breathe and feed them intravenously and resuscitating a person or administering drugs can all prolong life, even if these actions themselves can no longer aid recovery. Dying people often fear ‘lingering on’ unnecessarily, and have priorities such as retaining a sense of control and not being a burden on their loved ones. Yet in the medical setting, we can often overlook the wishes of a patient to have a peaceful death.   Added to this, it is very rare to find realistic public depictions of the most common death...

Six things to consider when thinking about Wills

1)      Make sure you get a high quality Will, from a trusted provider. 2)      A correct and up-to-date Will is the only way to guarantee your wishes are carried out in the way you want. 3)      By setting up a trust, you can protect some of your estate from the 40 per cent inheritance tax. 4)      In some cases, particularly for unmarried parents, having a will is the best way to be sure that children under 18 will stay in the custody of your loved ones. 5)      Making a will doesn’t have to be expensive. If your needs are simple and basic, you can use an online company.  If your affairs are a bit more complex, then seek a solicitor. 6)      Beware the scammers offering to make your will for throwaway rates. If anyone cold-calls you and tries to pressure you with dire warnings of “losing out” if you don’t act right away, then there is a good chance they are trying to scam you.   Further reading:...

Plan ahead to make sure you get the care that you want

Do you know what advance care planning is? You should. Advance care planning is when you or a loved one writes down your wishes and instructions for future health care. Basically, it’s a living will built around one’s beliefs, values, and wishes. Advance care planning allows someone to express fully and thoughtfully their wishes for future health decisions. Why is this so important? We see it all the time where people don’t have advance care planning in place and it makes it so difficult. Difficult on their family most of all. How is someone supposed to make a potential life or death decision about a loved one? It’s too tough. Sometimes it’s not done because people are afraid to talk about their future health and mortality. Yet, it’s something we will all go through. Health challenges and eventually death. It’s very healthy to talk about! We can’t be afraid to. We must have these discussions with our loved ones and friends. There are a few primary tools to work with here. Advance care planning may include any or all of these tools:  A Power of Attorney where you appoint someone to make decisions about your financial affairs, business and property – even if you become incapacitated.  A Living Will (also known as an Advance Decision or Advance Directive) with your instructions for health and personal care in the case that you become incapacitated, which can then be registered with us at the UK Living Will Registry so that it can be easily accessed by medical professionals if it is ever needed. It may be best to speak...