An Advance Decision (often known as a Living Will) states what medical treatment you would not like to receive if you lose the ability to make your own decisions in the future and can also appoint someone else (known as a proxy) to make decisions on your behalf. Although they can be drafted while you are in good health they are often made following the discovery of a serious illness or dementia, and can be useful for many reasons:
There are two different aspects:
Advanced Decisions are legally binding and notify medical staff that you have chosen to refuse treatments such as antibiotics, intravenous feeding and resuscitation.
Advanced Statements are purely informative and outline the extent of medical intervention you'd like. Although not legally binding, they're still to be respected by healthcare professionals.
If your Living Will which was made before 1 October 2007 it won't have the same legal force as an Advance Decision, so you may wish to update your documents. We also strongly recommend speaking to your doctor about your specific medical situation so that you can make informed decisions about your care and treatment.
To discuss this issue further contact our team for clear, practical advice.