What is an advanced statement
What does an advanced statement cover, who needs one and is it legally binding ?
None of us knows what the future holds for us health wise, we could have a stroke or develop dementia.
An advance statement provides the opportunity to make general statements about your wishes and opinions for future care whilst well enough to make them.
Another document known as an advanced decision covers aspects such as refusing certain types of medical treatments ( look out for my upcoming article on this ) an advanced statement is often known as a statement of “wishes and care preferences.”
An advanced statement can be used to express your wishes on future care choices such as where you would prefer to live whether it be to stay in your own home or move to a nursing home and wishes regarding your care.
An advance statement can also be used to mention preferences which are not directly related to care.
This may include food choices such as whether you are vegetarian or vegan, foods you dislike , whether you prefer a bath or shower. This may seem a little extreme but if you are unable to express your wishes due to dementia or have had a stroke and it prevents you being able to communicate. If you have any religious beliefs these can be mentioned also.
An advanced statement also provides the chance to include a list of people, such as your partner, family and friends who you wish to be consulted by health and social care professionals who are making decisions about your care.
An advance statement is not legally binding ( an advance decision is) meaning doctors and medical professionals do not have to follow it. However, it should be given consideration health and social care professionals when making decisions about care and treatment.
It is not necessary to sign an advance statement but your signature makes it clear that these are your wishes. It should be stored somewhere safe and where it can be easily accessed in the future and also with your medical notes.
There is a booklet entitled The NHS end of Life Care Programme which is useful in helping you plan your advance statement.