If your doctor and/or nurse has spoken to you about adding information to the Future Planning Template in your notes it may help if you complete an Advance Care Plan (ACP) as well.
Advance Care Plans were first developed for patients with End of Life conditions. However, thinking about and writing down your preferences and priorities for care makes sense for patients with many chronic conditions. It may be completed by you alone, with help from your family/carers, or with support from an advocate or professional.
An ACP will help your health care team to understand what is important to you when planning your care.
A time may come when, for whatever reason, you are unable to make a decision for yourself. This may happen to a diabetic having a "hypo", in epilepsy during a seizure or with many conditions where delirium (confusion caused by being medically unwell) can occur. At this time a clinician or family/carer, who has to make decisions about your care on your behalf, will be able to read your wishes and preferences written in your ACP.
An ACP is not legally binding but it can provide helpful guidance for professionals who don’t know you well (e.g. doctors attending to you out-of-hours).
The information you put in your ACP should be shared with your GP and/or Nurse (and others as you see fit). A number of different types of Advance Care Plan are available and the links below should lead to the right one for you.
Further explanation and examples of advance care plans can be seen on these websites:
Thinking about the future can sometimes be upsetting; it may be better to talk about just one or two questions at a time. Your GP will be able to printout a copy of your Future Planning Template information following a consultation. This can be used to ponder additional questions. You might also use it as a paper Advance Care Plan that can be shown to relatives and friends, allowing them to get to know your wishes in advance of any problems.
Do you represent someone who lacks capacity?
If you have legal permission to represent someone who lacks mental capacity, then you may want to ensure that your wishes for their care are documented in both their medical record and an ACP. Just in case you are not around when a medical emergency occurs. The Future Planning: My Wishes leaflet can also be used for this purpose, though face to face discussion with the persons GP will also be helpful.