House Clearance Help & Advice: A living will and advanced directives
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Everyone in the UK is by law allowed to make the decision about what
treatment they receive or refuse to have, however this works ok providing
you can tell them what your wishes are. However if you were to become
too ill to communicate then it would be down to your familys wishes,
not yours, unless you had written a living will.
Even if you have talked over with your closest relatives what it is you
wish to happen if the situation arises, this is still not legally binding
and doesnt necessarily mean that your wishes will be followed. However
if you have prepared a written directive then this is a different matter.
An advance directive or living will lays out what it is that you want
to happen in a variety of situations and ensures that your wishes are
followed. Many different situations can be covered by the directive, for
instance if you needed a life saving operation or even something as simple
as who would look after your beloved cat or dog should something happen
to you and you couldnt.
As along as the Doctor believes that you were of sound mind when you wrote
the directive then the instructions contained within it must be followed.
There are several different types of living will or advance statement
and this fall under the categories below.
In the case of medical treatment then you could make an advance statement
about what type of treatment you wanted and wouldnt want under certain
circumstances. This can be a wide variety of different circumstances in
which you were too ill to speak and make your wishes be known at that
A living will usually dictates the type of treatment that you would like
at the end of your life. These usually come into effect if your Doctor
states that you have less than 6 months to live and are a way of expressing
You can also appoint someone else in advance to make a decision for you,
however the legality of this isnt quite clear and as such if it
came to making a major medical decision then a Doctor might not go by
the proxy decision unless you can prove without a doubt that this was
the persons wishes.
There are also documents called care pathways, these give guidance so
that health care professionals know they are acting in the best interest
of the patient.
The only time that a Doctor wont follow a directive is if they think
it means acting against their best clinical judgment, also you cannot
use a directive to demand that a Doctor uses a certain type of treatment.
You cannot for example ask a Doctor to give you a huge dose of drugs that
would end your life as this is unlawful and you also cannot refuse to
have basic care.
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