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The Importance of Having a Living Will

A charity has launched a new campaign highlighting the importance of people officially recording their medical care and treatment wishes in case injury or illness leaves them unable to make these decisions for themselves in future.

Recent research by Compassion in Dying found that a third (32%) of people worry about the care they would be given if they suddenly lost the capacity to make their own decisions, and over a fifth (22%) worry that they’d be given medical treatment they would not want.

A living will, also known as an Advance Decision or Advance Directive, allows people to make a legally binding record of what treatment they would not want to receive in certain situations, giving peace of mind that if tragedy strikes they can still have control over these crucial decisions.

“No one includes a serious accident or illness in their plans for the future – but fortunately there are things you can do now to prepare,” explained Usha Grieve, Director of Information and Partnerships at Compassion in Dying. “By recording your wishes while you are well and able, it means that if the worst does happen, what’s important to you will be known, respected and followed.”

“Having your wishes recorded will give you and your family peace of mind that they won’t be left stranded if you become unable to say what you want,” she added. “Your doctors won’t be left to make decisions without knowing what you would or wouldn’t have wanted. Quite the opposite – by recording your wishes in a legally binding way, you can make it your decision.”

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