There are lots of different things people can use to help let others know what they want to happen.
Some of these are legal documents so it would be useful to have a lawyer or solicitor to help complete them. There may be a cost involved, however in some cases, you may be able to apply for funding to cover all or part of the cost. If you want to find out more about costs you can visit the Citizen’s Advice Scotland website or My Power of Attorney Website.
Even if a document is not legally binding it is can still help others understand what is important to you so that any decisions that need to be made can reflect this.
Here are some of the documents and processes that people can use to help plan for their futures.
Tools To Help You Plan
Anticipatory Care Plans
What is an Anticipatory Care Plan?
Why should I have an ACP?
What goes in an ACP?
How can I get an ACP?
Everyone has the right to an ACP.
ACPs are not legally binding and there is not one way to record these decisions. The most important part of the ACP process is having the conversations; however it makes things a lot easier if any decisions made in these conversations are written down. This means that everyone can refer back to the document if they have to make decisions in future.
There are lots of different documents that can help you think about what is important and give you space to record the decisions you make. Here are some examples:
Documents to Help You Plan
My Anticipatory Care Plan
My Anticipatory Care Plan – this booklet was made by Health Improvement Scotland. It asks different questions and helps you make a plan which has lots of detail.
You can download a PDF of the booklet, or find out more information about Health Improvement Scotland.
You can either print off the booklet or you can type your answers straight onto the PDF (just click on each box). If you type straight into the PDF then you can save it and even email it to the people that matter to you. This means that everyone knows the important information and can easily access it.
You can also change your answers at any time – just remember to send the new copy to everyone so that they have the most up to date copy.
There is also an app you can download which helps you record the most important parts of the booklet. If you have this then you will always have a copy of your plan close by.
If you need the booklet in a different language then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 225 6999.
My Thinking Ahead and Making Plans Booklet
My Thinking Ahead and Making Plans booklet – this is a shorter booklet but still helps you to think about lots of important decisions.
These are just some suggestions and there will be other versions available. It is important that you can find tools that you like and you feel are useful and easy to use. Do some research and find the one that is right for you and the people that matter to you.
How can I share my ACP with others?
Start off by thinking about what matters to you and writing these thoughts down. Above you will find some example of tools which can help.
Now you need to share these with everyone who needs to know about your wishes.
If you already have health care teams working with you, they may have their own documents which they use to record summaries of these decisions. Speak to them and let them know you would like to talk about anticipatory care planning. You can share any plans you have created with them and they can record the key information on their systems.
Even if you don’t have a health care team working with you, we still think it would be a good idea to write down your wishes. You can share these plans with anyone you would like to know this information. For example we would encourage you to speak to your GP to let them know any decisions you have made and ask them to update your file to reflect your wishes.
What is the difference between making an ACP and a discussion about CPR?
An ACP contains lots of different information. It will record what matters to you – who is important to you, where you would prefer to receive treatment if possible, and what treatment you would like or treatment you would not like. This information helps us to work with you to make any treatment plans, at any stage of your life.
It may also contain information about end of life care. This is an important part of the document as it will help us work with you to make appropriate treatment plans at the end of your life. We will talk to you about where you would prefer to be treated at the end of your life, who you would like to be with you and your thoughts about what treatments you would like or not like.
We may also talk about what you prefer to happen if your heart stops. Sometimes it may be appropriate to try CPR to try and restart your heart. However this process has its own risks and does not work very often. We might talk to you about completing a DNACPR form – this stands for “do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation”. If a DNACPR is in place this means that if your heart stops, health care professionals will not attempt to restart it. It does not mean that you would not receive other treatment or that we cannot provide care to make you as comfortable as possible.
A CPR conversation is a very small part of the ACP process, however it gives you and the people that matter to you a chance to talk about your wishes and ask the health care staff involved in your care any questions you might have. It also makes sure that everyone is aware of decisions that have been made.
Scottish Government have also produced a leaflet to tell you more about CPR.
How much does an ACP cost?
Anticipatory Care Plans do not cost any money. All you need to do is have a conversation with those that matter to you and make a record of your wishes. You should then speak to any health care professional involved in your care so they can make sure the key information is store in their records and shared with colleagues.
Planning For Unexpected Events
Unexpected things can happen every day. Having a plan for what to do in an emergency situation can help reduce stress and anxiety.
What do I need to think about?
These plans usually focus on what would happen in an emergency situation e.g. if someone was unexpectedly admitted to hospital. Some things that people might want to think about:
- If you care for someone, who will provide this care when you are unavailable? Will you require extra support from Social Work?
- If you have children is there someone who can stay with them?
- If you have any pets is there someone who can look after them?
- Does someone have a spare key to get into your house if you need something from there?
Why should I think about these things?
Having a plan in place can reduce the stress for everyone – the person, their friends, family members and carers. It means that everyone knows what is expected of them, and they can ask for help if they need it.
How do I make a plan?
Just like an ACP, planning for unexpected events begins with a conversation. You should talk to the people that matter to you and those you are responsible for. You should then make a record of these decisions and give everyone involved a copy.
This plan is not legally binding and can be updated at any time to reflect changes in your thinking or circumstances.
A Tool to Help You Plan
Carers Link East Dunbartonshire have created a great tool to help you make an plan.
Once completed they will email you a copy of the document and provide a link so that you can update it at any time. You can print off a copy or forward it to any of your emergency contacts so that everyone has the information they need.
Not sure what goes in an plan? We have made an example plan for you to look at.
How much does it cost to make a plan?
Making a plan does not cost anything. All you need to do is talk with the people that matter to you and make an agreement as to what should happen if something unexpected happens. It would be useful to record what agreements are in place so that everyone understand what they have to do and can have a copy of the information they need.
Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney (PoA)?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This person is called your attorney. You can ask anybody that you trust to be your attorney.
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
- Welfare Power of Attorney – someone has the authority to make decisions regarding your health and welfare.
- Financial Power of Attorney (also called a Continuing Power of Attorney) – someone has the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf.
You can choose different people for different types of PoA, or they can have both. You can also choose to have more than one attorney (however they would have to make the decisions together).
You can choose when you want your Financial Power of Attorney to be activated – you might decide to activate this before you lose capacity. Your Welfare Power of Attorney will only be activated when you lose capacity.
What does it mean to “lose capacity”?
If you lose capacity, it means that you are no longer able to look after your own financial and personal affairs. There are lots of reasons why this could happen. Some medical conditions which can affect your capacity are dementia, delirium or a stroke.
In Scotland, anyone over 16 is usually considered to be an adult. This means they can make decisions for themselves and manage their own affairs. Therefore to “lose capacity” there must be medical evidence that you are not able to do this.
There are lots of things that might happen to show that someone has lost capacity. These include not being able to:
- act on decisions
- make decisions
- communicate decisions
- understand decisions
- remember decisions
Can my family make decisions on my behalf without a Power of Attorney?
Many people think that if you lose capacity, you can rely on members of your family (such as a husband or wife) to act on your behalf. Unfortunately, unless you have a Power of Attorney arranged, this is not the case. Nobody automatically has the right to make decisions for you unless you have granted them Power of Attorney in advance. If no one is legally appointed by you to act, then no one has legal authority to do so. This means that, although your nearest relatives may be consulted about your wishes, they cannot decide what should happen to you if you haven’t given powers in advance.
If you have not granted powers in advance, and you lose the capacity to make your own decisions, then the courts have to appoint someone to be your Guardian. There are processes by which family members can apply to be granted these powers after someone has lost capacity, but this is a long, expensive process and requires a court hearing. Carer Information Scotland have more information on the guardian process.
How can I get a Power of Attorney?
You need to assign someone as your attorney whilst you still have the capacity to do so.
The first thing to do is speak to the people who matter to you and discuss with them why you want to organise this. It helps if everyone understands why this is important to you and can help you with the process if necessary.
Next, decided who is going to be your attorney. Remember there are two types – Welfare and Financial. You can have different people for different roles and you can have more than one person acting on your behalf.
Once you have decided who is going to be your attorney you need to register the appropriate documentation with the Office of the Public Guardian. As this is a legal document it is very important that everything is carried out correctly. Most people use a solicitor or lawyer to help them with the process.
How much does a Power of Attorney cost?
There is a cost involved in registering a Power of Attorney. There may also be a cost for legal fees. You may be eligible for help with covering these costs. The Citizens Advice Scotland have further information about costs and legal aid.
You can also visit the My Power of Attorney Website.
I have a Power of Attorney. Do I need to do anything else?
Yes! You also should have conversations with your attorney so they know and understand what matters to you and what your wishes would be if you no longer had capacity to make decisions.
If they are responsible for your welfare, this will only be active once you have lost capacity. This means that they may not be able to have a proper conversation with you at that time and will have to decide things for you. It is much easier to make these decisions if you have already discussed these and they feel like they know what your wishes are.
Together you may want to make an Anticipatory Care Plan which is a written document of your wishes.
You should also let any health care professionals involved in your care know who your attorney is. This information can then be stored on their systems in case they need to contact them.
Carer Support Plans
A carer is someone who provides support for a friend, relative or neighbour who could not manage without them. If you think you might be a carer then you should contact your local carer services to find out how they can support you. Call 0141 353 6504 or find contact detail of your local services.
There are dedicated carer information pages on our website as well.
What is a carer Support Plan?
Under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, unpaid carers have the right for their needs to be considered separately from those they provide care to. This means that the NHS and HSCPs need to take into account the impact that caring has on you and support you as best they can to help you continue to care if you chose to do so.
A Carer Support Plan identifies what support you need. It is created by identifying what matters to you and what you think will help you to continue to care for someone – these are sometimes called the “outcomes”.
Why should I have a Carer Support Plan?
To look after others, you also need to look after yourself. Having a Carer Support Plan gives you the opportunity to think about what is important to you.
Having a plan allows everyone to easily identify the support that is required to help you meet your desired outcomes. You can continue to build on this plan to reflect the changing needs to help you continue to care.
How can I get a Carer Support Plan?
The easiest way to get a Carer Support Plan is to contact your local carers centre. They will arrange for you to speak with one of the team to talk about what is important to you and how you can best be supported.
To contact your local carer services you can call 0141 353 6504 or find contact detail of your local services.
How much does a Carer Support Plan cost?
A Carer Support Plan is free. All you have to do is contact your local carer support services and they will help you make the plan. To find out where your local services are you can call 0141 353 6504 or find contact detail of your local services.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which gives instructions on what should happen to your money, possessions and property (all these things together are called your “estate”) after you have died.
It will also identify someone as your “executor” – this is the person who is responsible for following the instructions in the Will and organising your estate. You can have more than one executor.
You can also write a Letter of Wishes to go alongside your Will. This is not legally binding but it can help your executor know what you would like to happen e.g. if you would prefer to be buried or cremated. It might also explain why you have decided to have certain things included in your Will.
Why should I have a Will?
If you don’t leave a Will the law decides how your money, possessions and property are passed on. This might be different from how you would like it to be distributed.
It can also take more time for everything to be sorted out which can be stressful for your friends and family.
How can I get a Will?
There are three main options to choose from:
- Use a solicitor
- Use a will writing service
- Do it yourself
The Money Advice Service has information to help you decide how best to write a Will.
You need to have mental capacity to write a Will so it is better to think about these things as soon as possible. If your circumstances change you can change your Will so long as you still have capacity.
Is a Will and a Power of Attorney the same thing?
No. A Power of Attorney grants someone the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf while you are alive. For more information visit the My Power of Attorney Website.
A Will is a document which gives instructions on what should happen to your estate once you die. A Will is only activated once you die.
How much does a Will cost?
There will generally be a cost involved in making a Will, however it depends on how you make it.
Some people may be eligible for legal aid to help with costs or some solicitors will waive their usual fees at certain times of the year when you donate to charity.
Supporting Someone At the End of Their Life
What happens when someone is dying?
If you are supporting someone who is dying it can be helpful to know a little bit more about the process and how you can help. NHSGGC have created a leaflet which has lots of information in it. It is called “What Can Happen When Someone Is Dying”. It is also available in other languages on the NHSGGC Bereavement Pages.
The Art of Dying Well website also has useful things to think about. It gives some suggestions of things to think about in order to make the most of the time you have together.
Not everyone will die in hospital. People may be in care homes, hospices or their own home. If someone has an Anticipatory Care Plan it may include where someone would prefer to receive end of life care. It is not always possible for someone to be in that place, however we will all work together to make a plan to make everyone as comfortable as possible.
What happens after someone dies?
People can sometime feel overwhelmed by the amount of things they have to think about when someone dies. There is support and advice available to help you.
Some practical arrangements have changed because of COVID-19. For the latest information please visit the NHSGGC Bereavement Information pages.
Planning Your Own Funeral – What You Need To Know
There are no “right answers” when it comes to planning a funeral. Some people may want to make arrangements before they die, but others might be happy for their friends and family to make these decisions.
You can write a Letter of Wishes to go alongside your Will which will explain what you would like to happen. The Scottish Government have also produced a booklet called “Planning Your Own Funeral” which you might find useful.
If you are arranging a funeral for someone who has died you can find information through Citizens Advice Scotland website.
How much will a funeral cost?
The cost of a funeral can vary.
Some people choose to pay for their funeral while they are alive. This is called a funeral plan. If you are not sure if there is a funeral plan you can
- Check the Will or Letter of Wishes
- Ask the person’s close friends and relatives
- Ask local funeral directors
- Search for funeral plans on the Funeral Planning Authority’s website
You may be able to get help with the cost of the funeral.
Organ and Tissue Donation
From the 26th March 2021, the law about organ donation is changing. Under the new “opt out system”, if all adults aged 16 years and over have not confirmed whether they want to be a donor, they will be considered to be willing to donate their organs and tissue when they die, unless they choose to opt out.
You can still choose whether or not you want to be an organ and tissue donor by registering your decision and telling your family. Your faith, beliefs and culture will always be respected.
We are encouraging everyone to have these conversations with friends and family so that everyone knows each other’s wishes.
You can find out more about tissue donation from Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service website.