“If I can’t make my own decisions, I want people to respect my wishes and feelings
Next of kin have no powers of decision making in law for adults who have lost capacity. Planning for that eventually is where we can help. It is what we do.
An advance statement of wishes and feelings is a written statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future. It takes effect only if you lose capacity to make those decisions for yourself.
It can cover:
- how you want any religious or spiritual beliefs to be reflected in your care
- where you would like to be cared for, for example at home or in a hospital, a nursing home, or a hospice
- how you like to do things, for example if you prefer a shower instead of a bath, or like to sleep with the light on
- practical issues, for example who will look after your dog if you become ill
- the people that you trust and perhaps those you do not
It may be a good idea when making this if you discuss it with significant people in your life. This will help ensure that it is respected.
By writing your advance statement down, you can help to make things clear to your family, friends, carers and anybody involved in your care.
How does this relate to Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney?
The answer is that both are important. Your LPA attorney is the person / people you have chosen to make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. They must make those decisions in your ‘best interests’. It is far easier for them to do this if they have a good idea of how you would have made those decision for yourself.
How does an advance statement help?
An advance statement lets everyone involved in your care know about your wishes, feelings and preferences if you’re not able to tell them.
It is preferable that it is signed and witnessed because this makes it clear that it is your wishes that have been written down.
Once made you should keep it somewhere safe, and tell people where it is, in case they need to find it in the future. It might be helpful if you GP had a copy.
One final point
As we go through life our views, opinions, attitudes and relations may change. It is very important that you review this document at regular intervals.