Living Wills are used to express an individuals wishes while still “living “ if they lose the capacity to consent to or refuse medical treatment.
To make your advance wishes clear you can use a living Will. Living Wills can include general statements about your wishes, which aren't legally binding, and specific refusals of treatment called 'advanced decisions' or 'advance directives'
What is a General written statement?
A general written statement ('advance statement') can be used to state what treatments you would like to receive and those which you wish to refuse if you lose mental capacity. These statements are not legally binding but only considered by doctors and family and friends when looking to allocate treatment.
Your statement could include, instructions as to what treatment you consent too depending on differing circumstances or on the other hand treatment you would point blank refuse, no matter what the circumstances. It is always advisable to consider carefully what treatments you would want to refuse, as with the advancement of medical science may introduce ground breaking treatments which may not be able to be used as your wishes state otherwise. Include your name, address, date and signature in the advance statement. It's also advisable to say you understand what you're doing and are capable of making such decisions. And you may want to get the statement signed by a witness who can say that you had capacity at the time.
Can I make a living Will if I am Ill?
If you are diagnosed with a mental illness you still may be able to make a living Will as long as you can show that you are competent and understand what you are agreeing too.
It's best to put your wishes in writing explaining specifically what you agree too and don’t agree too and give you reasons for deciding this course of action.
Who needs to know about a living Will?
It’s important that your living Will is entered into your medical notes so that in an emergency it is found and acted upon. Consider sending a copy to your doctor and to any hospital which is treating you and to your nearest relatives. If your living Will is verbal, make sure close relatives or friends are aware.
Changing a living Will and further advice
Consider reviewing your living Will on a regular basis to make sure you're happy with it and particularly if your situation changes.
You can change or cancel it if you are able to think rationally and clearly explain what you want to happen. Ideally, put things in writing and destroy old versions.