Advanced Care Planning - for service users and carers
Advance care planning gives service users the opportunity to say what they would like to happen regarding their future care. It is best known about in planning for end of life care and progressive conditions but they can be used effectively if you have an illness that you think you may relapse from time to time too.
The idea is state your preferences and make sure those involved in your care have a copy when you are able to do this in preparation for a time when it may not be so easy for you to express what you want. Completing an advance plan can help you:
- retain a sense of control over what happens to you even if you do become unwell because a plan is in place. It’s also important to know that an advance plan belongs to you and you can change it or cancel it at any time.
- have your voice heard – if there is a formal record of your views lodged with those who support you and recorded in clinical notes family friends and professionals can take it into account when care planning during a period of illness
- include anything about your care in a plan so it gives you the chance to use your previous experience to inform future care. You might to tell a new team about a medication that you do not think is effective for you. If you know that you exclude your family when you are ill but that later as you recover you regret this you might want to express a wish for staff to continue talking to your family that they can take into account. You might want to alert people to something practical like you have a pet who will need looking after if you are away from home
- involve others if you want to – you can write the plan by yourself or write it with a friend or family member, advocate or professional you trust so you have the chance to talk it through
Most plans are not legally binding but there is an expectation that staff will look for any indication of your wishes and heed what you stated. There is a specific area of your clinical record where an advance statement can be kept. If you have someone who advocates for you it can help them understand what you would want too and represent your wishes.
There is an agreed multiagency document in Gloucestershire but the advice and guidelines apply more generally and it can give you some ideas about what you might like to include - www.gloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/your-services/eolc/advanced-care-planning.
Herefordshire is in the process of developing Advance Care Planning too and we’ll provide a link when it becomes available.
Download an Advanced Care Plan
To download an Advance Care Plan click on the options below. Our own Trust document, the Rainy Day Plan can be used anywhere in the Trust and was developed by service users specifically for mental health settings. Some clinical teams also have other options in use – for example WRAP plans and discharge plans are also future focused and may cover what you want to include.