Legal Advice
Legal Advice

Advanced Decision – Living Will

May, 2014 CLOUDS-150x150

 

A close friend had the unimaginable horror of watching her Mother, who had been suffering from Parkinsons’ for several years, collapse in front of her, she called an ambulance, by the time the paramedics had arrived, she had stopped breathing. Now whilst my friend tried to make the paramedics aware that her Mother had always requested “do not resuscitate” the paramedics had to ignore this request as there was nothing legally binding. This made me wonder what do you have to do to prevent this situation happening to you and found the following.

An “advanced decision” (also known as a living will) usually provides specific directives about the course of treatment that is to be followed by health care providers and caregivers. In some cases it may forbid the use of various kinds of burdensome medical treatment. It may also be used to express wishes about the use or foregoing of food and water, if supplied via tubes or other medical devices. The advanced decision is used only if the individual has become unable to give informed consent or refusal due to incapacity. It can be very specific or very general.

Treatments you decide to refuse must all be named in the advance decision. You can refuse a treatment that could potentially keep you alive (known as ‘life sustaining’ treatment) this includes treatments such as ventilation and CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation),

An example of a statement sometimes found in is: “If I suffer an incurable, irreversible illness, disease, or condition and my attending physician determines that my condition is terminal, I direct that life-sustaining measures that would serve only to prolong my dying be withheld or discontinued.”

The advanced decision, once legally binding must be respected by medical professional, even if they think it’s not in your best interests.

 

There’s a really useful pdf on Advanced Decisions and how to make them legally binding on Age UK’s  website:

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/FS72_Advance_decisions_advance_statements_and_living_wills_fcs.pdf

 

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