A living will or advanced decision (the legal term for it) is a legally binding document where you can express what your medical wishes are when you get seriously ill. This needs to be done when you have the mental capacity to do this.
The most common time to do this is when a person has been diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, but should be something as we get older we discuss with our family members even if we do not make it legally binding. The process in itself will help you consider the possibilities and what you really want.
If you become ill, there is stress on family and friends and unless you have discussed with your family beforehand what treatments you want it can be added pressure on them when doctors need them to make decision that you can no longer do. Loved ones can make assumptions about what you would want and what standard of life you are willing to endure, or they may decide to stop treatment which you would not have done. Documenting what you would have chosen can also stop family fighting where family members disagree on what you would have wanted.
In the past, it was rare that people thought about this until they were in their 70’s or 80’s or had a serious degenerative condition, but over the pandemic this scenario has impacted people who are far younger. There have been a number of cases where the wishes of the family are at odds with medical professionals.
Treatment you do not want in the event of specific conditions. The type of treatment you can refuse could include CPR, clinically assisted nutrition and hydration, artificial or mechanical ventilation and antibiotics for life-threatening infections, these all come under the umbrella term of life sustaining treatment.
The list of conditions you may want to evoke this under are; dementia, brain injury, progressive conditions related to the central nervous system or terminal illness. This are outlined in the pack below, but there could be specific conditions you want to highlight.
A list of common treatments are outlined in the ‘Dying with compassion’ pack
So anyone can quickly access your advanced decision
Lions Message in a Bottle
Medics are trained to find this bottle in the fridge.
Power of attorney
Advance Decision Pack by Paul Satori
Compassionate in dying living will template
You need to create an account so your wishes are saved