An Advance Directive is a legal document which allows healthcare professionals to follow your wishes for treatment, even if you are unable to communicate with them directly.
You can use an Advance decision to set outthe treatment you would and would not want at the end of life. This enable healthcare professionals know what your wishes are even if you could no tell them yourself e.g. if you ha severe dementia or were in a coma.
The benefits of making such a document are:-
It enables you to think about what treatement you would want if you couldnt make or communicate medical decisions.
Your GP will keep your Advance decision with your notes, so other healthcare professionals will know how you want to be treated.
Advance Decisions work well if they apply to your specific circumstances at the end of life, so it is a good idea to try to complete it in as much detail as you can.
The refusal of treatment is legally binding with an Advance Decision. You can refuse any treatment, including life-sustaining treatment (i.e. resuscitation, artifiical nutrition and hydration, or breathing machines.)
You can also use an Advance Decision to ask for treatment, although this is not legally binding. It is still a good idea to put the treatment you want to ask for in your Advance Decision so that healthare professionals know about them. They will try to follow your wishes if they can.
If you would like something m,ore flexible, you might find that a health and personal welfare Lasting Power of Attorney suits you better.
It can help you to talk to your loveed ones about what you would want, so they know your wishes.