What is advance care planning?
This is a discussion you can have with your partner, friends, family or those caring for you about what might be important to you in the future. Thinking about a time when you might be less well is not easy but it is at such times when knowing what matters to you for your health care can be really valuable to those close to you, or looking after you. However, it is a completely voluntary process and no-one is obliged to do it.
A conversation about advance care planning can occur in several stages and may be prompted by:
- The wish to make plans in case something unexpected happens
- A new diagnosis of a serious health problem
- The experience of another family member or friend
Advance care planning can be about anything you choose and in as much detail as you want.
Some examples of things you might think about include:
- How any personal religious or spiritual beliefs you have should be reflected in your care
- Any treatments or medical interventions that you feel strongly about having or not having
- If there is someone who should be contacted or consulted if you are taken ill suddenly
- Where you would like to be cared for at the end of life
- Any practical worries such as care of a pet/having someone be able to access your house to bring you things you need.
You can include whatever is important to you even if it seems trivial.
Advance care plan
You can just have a conversation about your views or you can document them in writing in an advance care plan.
This is not legally binding but is used to take into account your wishes when making best interest decisions about your healthcare if you cannot communicate those decisions yourself.
Examples of an advance care plan can be found on the websites in the box below.
- Lasting power of attorney is a way of giving another person legal authority to make decisions on your behalf (either for financial matters, health and welfare or both). To find out how to register someone for you a form can be obtained from the office of the public guardian. Visit the public guardian website
- Some useful websites include:
northern cancer alliance
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.