What shall I do about my death? — Dr Hilary Page — 28th November 2016

No this is not a depress­ing talk and it is very per­tin­ent for every­body of sound mind.  Although it is very much in one’s own self interest to act, it is incred­ibly easy to pro­cras­tin­ate over such mat­ters.

Dr Page’s book (pub­lished by Mospeate Publishing) has the same title as the talk and goes into more detail.  It is about advance plan­ning or “an advanced decision” and it :

  • is made when you have mental capa­city.
  • comes into effect in the future if you have lost mental capa­city to take part in dis­cus­sions about med­ical care and to give or refuse con­sent to med­ical treat­ment.
  • dir­ects that in clin­ical cir­cum­stances that you describe, treat­ment aimed purely at sus­tain­ing your life should be with­held or with­drawn, even though your life is at risk.

Age Concern define the “Principles of a Good Death” as ;

  1. Know when death is coming and under­stand what to expect.
  2. Retain con­trol of what hap­pens.
  3. Enjoy pri­vacy and dig­nity.
  4. Be in con­trol of the relief of pain and other symp­toms.
  5. Choose where to die.
  6. Have access to inform­a­tion and expert­ise.
  7. Receive emo­tional and spir­itual sup­port.
  8. have access to hos­pice care.
  9. Choose who may visit you and who shares the end.
  10. Have time to say good­bye.
  11. Choose not to have life point­lessly pro­longed.
  12. Be able to write a living will and be con­fid­ent your wishes will be respec­ted.

Many dying people lose mental capa­city, some shortly before the end. Writing an Advance Decision gives you the oppor­tun­ity to influ­ence your death even if you lose mental capa­city.  It allows one to dis­cuss things with your family after giving due con­sid­er­a­tion to such mat­ters one­self.

Dr Page described some of the issues relat­ing to the deaths of her par­ents and illus­trated her own list of values.  Her book has a blank Living Will form and it fully explains how to fill one in together with a list of values.

Her talk was rated as extremely import­ant and inform­at­ive.  It is highly recom­men­ded.