There are many benefits to end of life planning and generally planning ahead for your death; such as funeral planning. However, talking openly about ‘death’ and more specifically, our own, with relatives, friends and family, can be very hard.
Before we created My Last Request, we spoke with many people who said they sometimes thought about what would happen if they became seriously ill or disabled. They were worried their partner or family wouldn’t know about the kind of care they would like to receive, or where they would like to die? Would they know if you would want to be admitted to hospital, resuscitated or if you want to refuse any kinds of treatment? These scenarios and decisions were important to them.
As we mentioned earlier, these conversations can be difficult (understandably so) and therefore sometimes avoided entirely. But you don’t have to have a conversation, you can record them instead, and allow those close to you to read them and have a record or access. Hence My Last Request.
If you have a terminal illness, or you are approaching the end of your life, it can be a good idea to record your views, preferences and priorities about your future care and your funeral wishes. It is also a good idea to ensure you have a will.
To find out more about why everyone should have a will, visit here.
If you have a terminal illness or are thinking about your end of life care, it may help to read the Planning for your future care (PDF, 292kb) booklet produced by the National Council for Palliative Care.
An example of planning ahead is the ReSPECT process, where you discuss your wishes and document them in a Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment (ReSPECT).
Reasons to plan ahead…
There is no set way of planning ahead, but it is certainly something to consider and that we would recommend. It may seem hard in the short-term, but long-term it can save much stress and worry.
Here are just some reasons why you should consider making (at least) your funeral arrangements ahead of time:
Firstly, you will have peace-of-mind now knowing that your wishes have been made and people should honor them.
Recording your wishes means there will be fewer opportunities for argument and indecision about your funeral arrangements among family members after you’re gone.
Your survivors will never have to worry about doing the wrong thing when finalising your funeral arrangements. You will have told them exactly what you would like.
Funeral preplanning is the responsible thing to do. It removes the burden from family members at an emotional time; both from stress and financially.
You can make complex decisions ahead of time when you have the time to think things through.
Other useful information…
Healthtalk.org has videos and written interviews of people talking about planning for the future.
The Dying Matters website has a 15-minute film of Dr Kate Granger talking about her experience of living with terminal cancer and planning ahead for her care.
Sat tuned for our next blog, where we will discuss ‘Consent & Capacity’ and Lasting Power of Attorney…