Your summary today
Thank you for considering these important subjects.
Unless you tell your doctors or your loved ones, they won't know your views. The decisions you have made show your current preferences. You might change your mind in the future, and that's fine. You might decide differently after you have had a chance
to discuss your preferences with your doctor or nurse.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, general practices will be getting in touch with some people to discuss these kinds of preferences. This will include you if you are aged over 70, or if you have a long-term physical condition like diabetes, or a condition that affects your heart, lungs or kidneys. We hope that using this tool has given you some helpful information and enabled you to start considering your own preferences. A conversation with your doctor or nurse will be able to answer any questions the tool has brought up for you.
We recommend that everybody has a conversation about these preferences with their medical advisers. Most of us won't die, or even be very sick, with COVID-19. But all of us, one day, will reach the end of our life.
Thinking through our preferences about medical treatments is part of a bigger process of thinking about how to live the last part of our life well. That includes what support we might need; who will look after us, and where; how we will maintain our cultural, religious and spiritual values; how the things that matter most to us will be provided, from people or pets to music or meals. That bigger process, including the medical treatments this tool discusses, is called Advance Care Planning. People who take up the offer of Advance Care Planning are more likely to say they have better quality of life, to live in the place they wish, and to spend less time in hospitals, than people who haven't planned ahead in this way.
You might want to consider making some legally binding arrangements. This would ensure you can refuse any treatments you are already certain you would not want. And you can choose people to speak for you legally.
No-one can speak for you unless you complete the legal forms. If you'd like to do this, or to learn more, click the 'Making it legally binding' button.
Making it legally binding
If you would like to go further, and make legally-binding decisions to refuse any type of treatments, you can make an
Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment. These are legally binding in England and Wales. In Scotland the law is different but it is likely that an ADRT would be respected. More information, and links to websites that will help you do that can be found on the
website. We recommend you discuss this with a doctor or nurse who knows your health circumstances before you make this decision.
Or if you prefer, you can nominate one or several people you trust, whether family or friends, to have
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare (in England and Wales) or Welfare Power of Attorney (PoA) (in Scotland).
If you lose capacity to make decisions either temporarily (e.g. becoming too unwell to stay awake) or permanently (e.g. developing a condition that interferes with your thinking), then they can make medical decisions on your behalf. They can be helped
to make the choices you would prefer if you discuss your preferences with them.
Nobody else can make medical decisions for you,
not even your next of kin, unless they are your registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) / Welfare Power of Attorney (PoA). This process takes time: up to months in England and Wales, faster in Scotland. More information and relevant application forms:
England and Wales
(There is no legal LPA system yet in Northern Ireland)
If there are medical decisions about your treatment in the future, and you aren't well enough to join in the discussions,
your loved ones can use these preferences of yours to help the doctors make important decisions about your care. If you have legally appointed someone to speak for you (LPA/PoA) then they, too, will find this record helpful. They want to follow
your wishes as much as possible when they make decisions on your behalf.
You can easily save a copy of the preferences you have chosen today by clicking below.
Here is a full summary of your preferences today for you to save.
Please talk about these preferences with your family or loved
ones. If you become ill, they may be asked about your preferences and this record will be a great help to them.
You may worry that discussing these preferences might make them feel sad. And it might. But they may feel far sadder not to be able to tell your doctors about your preferences if that's needed in the future. This is a way for you to help them at a very
difficult time for all of you.
These preferences are not legally binding. You can change your mind at any time.
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Sharing your preferences
Please share your preferences with your loved ones and health care team. We've tried to make it easy for you to save these decisions so that you can refer to them at any time.
Contact your General Practitioner (GP) surgery if you'd like to talk through any of these issues.
During COVID-19, GPs will welcome an opportunity to discuss these kinds of preferences with you, and they can help you to apply the information here to your own circumstances.
Thinking about these important ideas now will help you to be confident that your values and preferences will be included, when medical decisions are needed in the future. Even if the medical options are limited depending on how sick you are and what treatments might help, your doctors will want to make decisions that respect your wishes and preferences.