At Friends at the End we provide a free service to support people to put end of life care plans in place. This can be via providing information and resources or on a 1:1 basis depending on what people prefer. These include Advance Directives/Decisions, Advance Statements and Powers of Attorney.
An Advance Directive (or Advance Decision in England and Wales) is a formal document which enables you to refuse life-prolonging medical treatments or interventions, in the event where you cannot refuse them at the time. For example, because you are unconscious following a stroke, heart attack or car crash.
Many people are sure they would not want to be kept alive in a long-term coma-like state. A recent YouGov poll showed that 82% of people have strong views about their end-of-life treatment but very few (only about 4%) have made an Advance Directive/Decision.
Many people falsely believe that family members can make health care decisions on their behalf. In reality, decisions are made by your medical team and must be done in your ‘best interests’. This is the case unless you have written an Advance Directive/Decision or appointed an Attorney to act on your behalf.
Having end of life plans in place is of great benefit to everybody. Consider if you became ill, or were in an accident and lost the capacity to communicate. The doctors would have to act in what they believe is your ‘best interest’, but this may not be what you wanted. Having plans in place will inform doctors of your wishes and your human rights will stand a much better chance of being respected, protected and fulfilled.
It provides peace of mind for all to know that doctors have a blueprint in place to guide them. These plans empower healthcare teams to act in a way which fulfils that person’s values. It also frees families and relatives from the pressure of having to make critical medical care decisions, especially while they are under stress or in emotional turmoil. Research shows that patients and their families report significantly less stress, anxiety and depression when an end of life plan is in place. It allows people to retain control of their decision making. It gives comfort and reassurance, contributing to the overall wellbeing of all involved in your care and welfare.
Further information can be found below:
Putting off, or deferring end of life planning is a common problem. Many people find it emotionally difficult to talk about death and dying. People often do not know how to access or prepare this documentation, or where to begin, especially older people who are not IT literate. Another issue is the cost of obtaining professional help in producing them.
How we can help
Our CEO is qualified to postgraduate level in Medical Law and Ethics and our board of trustees is comprised of medical and legal professionals, academics and an MSP with a nursing background. Thus, we have the expertise at FATE to sensitively support people to prepare for their end-of-life.
Ordinarily, we work with people on a 1-1 basis and via our network of local groups. We also run Advance Directive workshops and maintain contact via our telephone advice line, email and video conferencing. Please get in touch with us if you require help.