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Advance decisions (living wills)

There comes a time when we all need to think about the future and what we would like to happen if we were unable to make or communicate our own decisions.

An advance decision allows you to express your wishes to refuse medical treatment in future. It is sometimes referred to as a living will.

An advance decision would become relevant if there came a time when you were unable to make or communicate your own decisions.

It allows you to refuse treatment, even if this might lead to your death. An advance decision is legally binding, which means that those caring for you must follow your instructions. However, it will only be used if you lose the capacity to make or communicate decisions about your treatment.

An advance statement of wishes explains your likes and dislikes and anything that is important for you to be comfortable. An advance statement should be considered by all those involved in your care. Unlike an advance decision, it's not legally binding.

You might like to include information on:

  • where ideally you would like to be cared for, for example your home, a care home or hospice
  • your dietary requirements
  • foods you do and don’t like
  • whether you prefer baths or showers
  • what kind of clothes you prefer to wear
  • the type of music you like and what you like to watch on TV
  • whether you like to sleep with a light on
  • the time you like to go to bed and whether you’re an early riser or prefer a lie in
  • your religious or other beliefs and values
  • who you want to be consulted about your care
  • who you would like to visit you.

You can record your advance statement in any way it works for you. However it is a important to give a copy of your advance statement to all those involved in your care – especially your care staff, GP and medical team so that they know your wishes.

What should I do next?

For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98


Last updated: Jun 09 2023

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