The Advance Directive (Living Will)
Advance Directives are growing in popularity because they offer a way for individuals to keep personal autonomy at the end of life and to maintain some degree of choice and control.
What is it?
Sometimes called a ‘Living Will’, the Advance Directive form expresses your wishes to your doctor in the event of there being no reasonable prospect of your recovery from serious illness expected to cause you severe distress or to render you incapable of rational existence.
What it does
It does not ask the doctor to do anything against the law. All it says is that, under certain circumstances, you do not want your life prolonged by medical treatment, but you do want to be kept comfortable with pain relief, even at the cost of shortening life. In common law, competent adults all have the right to decline treatment and to receive analgesic drugs in quantities sufficient to relieve intolerable distress. Recent legal judgements show that this is ‘anticipatory’ - it can extend into the future. Therefore Advance Directives are held to be legally binding on doctors and they are now endorsed by the British Medical Association. The Law Commission is planning to introduce a statutory Law to confirm this situation. If doctors are faced with difficult decisions, it is helpful for them to know the considered opinion of the patient, expressed when in full possession of his/her faculties and not when in great pain or distress.
Our charge for this service is £35:00 per person.