Planning your care in advance

Treatment planning for seriously ill patients

People who have been unwell with a long-term condition or involved in a serious accident can suddenly become very sick. 

If you have a serious illness, you might want to plan ahead. You can think about what medical treatment you would want if your condition gets worse. This is called advance care planning.

This short film talks about decision-making and planning treatment. Most people respond well to treatment, but it is important to think about what you might want if you were to become very unwell. Your healthcare team are responsible for assessing your health. We need to know what is acceptable and what you might want, so that we can make the right plan together.

It is a good idea to communicate your wishes and preferences about your treatment, such as who to involve in discussions, the types of treatment you like to have and a place you prefer to be cared for, so that these can be considered when planning your care.

It's always assumed that people can make decisions about their care, unless there are concerns about their ability to do so. We assess this in four ways. So we would look at: if the person understands what's been said, we would look at their ability to remember what's been said, to weigh up the pros and cons and to tell us how they feel.

You can refuse any treatment that's offered to you if you have the capacity to do so. Also, if you've made an advance decision to refuse treatment, we will respect that too. lf you have made an advance decision, you must show that to your care team so they know what you want.

Decisions on treatment are based on science and evidence. Because of that, you won't be offered any treatment that won't work for you. However, if you disagree with any plan that your team has suggested, you can request a second opinion.

All plans are reviewed regularly with the patient or those close to them. If you are too unwell to participate in that discussion, we will have that chat with the person you have nominated.  Alternatively, if you don’t want us to talk about your care with anyone, we will respect that too.

Please talk to your healthcare team if you would like more information.

Advance care planning gives you the chance to think about:

It is important that we understand your wishes about care or treatment if you become very poorly and cannot make decisions. This is called capacity. If you lose your capacity to make decisions, we will discuss this with the people closest to you.

Please tell us if you have signed a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare. The people that you have chosen (your attorneys) can then be involved in decisions about your care.

pals icon

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this health information page useful?