No-one is immune from illness, an unpredictable medical incident or unexpected accident, which in some cases could mean we are no longer able to speak up for ourselves.

Advance care planning is for anyone who is currently able to make their own decisions about how they would want to be cared for, should the worst happen. 

It encourages you to have a discussion about what you would want and to write down your thoughts, wishes and preferences.

Download your advance care plan now

Why should I complete an advance care plan?

With constant news updates about the coronavirus, many of us may be feeling anxious about our own loved ones and may even be reflecting on our own mortality. 

At Mountbatten, our mission is to encourage and support people to talk about death and dying openly.  Even if it seems a painful or morbid topic, being practical and straightforward with each other now could lessen the worry and burden on our loved ones in the future.  For example, if you are the only person who knows the details or location of your bank accounts, pension, gas and electricity provider, savings, rent or mortgage, car details, loans and debts, passports and birth certificates etc, and you suddenly became too ill to talk or maybe died, a lack of information could mean further distress to the people closest to you. 

This period of lockdown, while we are all staying safe in our own homes, seems a good time to make a drink, take a pen and paper, sit down and write a list of “important information about me and where to find vital documents” to put somewhere safe, just in case, and could one day make a significant difference to the people you care about. 

If I don't create an advance care plan, can my family decide about my care and treatment?

Although an Advance Care Plan is not legally enforceable, it does provide the opportunity to nominate someone who you would like to be included in discussions if ‘best interests decisions’ need to be made. Your request should be respected and deciding this early on could reduce family anxiety or conflict.

People often do not realise that their loved ones have no legal right to request or refuse treatment or care on their behalf; only a legally appointed Lasting Power of Attorney for health and wellbeing has that right.

What happens to the advance care plan once it is complete?

The document belongs to you, and you are free to change anything in it if you wish to reflect your changing circumstances or health care needs. It will only be acted on if you have lost capacity and the ability to communicate – up to that point you continue to say what you would like, regardless of what is written in your Advance Care Plan.
 
Keep your advance care plan somewhere easily accessible, in case it is ever needed in an emergency situation.
 
Share the contents of your advance care plan with the people closest to you, including carers and ensure they understand that it is a record of your wishes and preferences, in case you are ever incapacitated and unable to speak up for yourself.

To get started, you can download the Mountbatten Hampshire advance care plan now.