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that in clinical circumstances that you describe, treatment aimed purely at sustaining your life should be withheld or withdrawn, even though your life is at risk.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.