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Why is it important to identify people who may be in their last year of life?

Identifying people who may be in their last year of life provides opportunities for both them and the health care professionals involved in their care:

For dying people:

  • To talk about their concerns
  • To plan for their future care
  • To express priorities and preferences for future care including preferred place of death
  • To make a will and make provision for any dependent relatives
  • To get their financial affairs in order
  • To plan their funeral or make their wishes known to their families
  • To decide if there are circumstances in which they would not want certain types of treatment (advance decision to refuse treatment)
  • To decide if they would not want any attempt to resuscitate them if their heart stopped (cardiac arrest)
  • To appoint a lasting power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf if they should lose the capacity to decide for themselves
  • To talk to their loved ones before it’s too late
  • To see friends and relatives before it’s too late
  • To do something they’ve always wanted to do before it’s too late 
  • To help make death as good as it could be
  • To tell people if they want to donate tissue or organs to help someone else after their death

For health care professionals

  • To have sensitive discussions with patients and their families
  • To assess patient and carer needs
  • To help patients plan for the future
  • To provide more support to patients and their families
  • To improve co-ordination of care and communication with other service providers
  • To enable more people to die in the place of their choice
  • To help make death as good as it could be

Not surprisingly talking about all these things is not easy for dying people, their families and the staff looking after them. Not everyone has the skill and confidence to initiate these sensitive discussions. It also takes time to make plans. That’s why it’s important to start early; not to wait until the last days of life when it is more obvious that a person is dying but too late for them to achieve what they want.

There will always be some people who do not want to talk about or plan their future care. That’s absolutely fine. Advance care planning is an entirely voluntary process.

End of Life Care
Downloads   End of Life Care Strategy:PDF 
Downloads   Best Interests at end of life:PDF
Downloads   Advance Care Planning:PDF
Downloads   Preferred Priorities for CarePDF
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