The End of Life Care programme is urging health and social care professionals to consider how well-equipped they are to deal with the issues raised by advance care planning - including requests to make an advance decision to refuse treatment.
Planning For your Future Care: A Guide, explains in simple language the wide range of issues which can be covered through advance care planning as well as giving practical advice on how to develop written plans and decisions.
If as part of advance care planning people choose to make an advance decision to refuse treatment, the guide recommends that they seek the advice of an experienced healthcare professional. It also explains that, unlike many other aspects of advance care planning, such decisions must be put in writing and signed.
The guide notes that plans can go well beyond treatment decisions - covering, for example, a strong preference to die at home, how the patient's religious or spiritual beliefs can be reflected in their care and even directions for caring for a pet.