How to plan ahead for your future care in Scotland
You can plan ahead in simple steps. Don’t feel you need to follow all these steps in order - just do what feels right for you and take your time.
Find out about the different ways you can plan aheadBack to top
You can find more information in our section on planning ahead or you may want to contact one of the helpful organisations listed on our database. The health and social care professionals involved in your care can also help.
Talk to your family and friendsBack to top
They will be able to help you clarify your plans, and it may also help them feel involved.
Identify the ways you would like to plan aheadBack to top
You may want to:
Remember it is your decision whether you use one or two of these ways to plan ahead, or all of them.
Speak to a health or social care professionalBack to top
You can discuss the ways you would like to plan ahead with them. It may take some time to discuss your plans and talk it all through. The professionals helping you won’t expect you to rush into making any plans unless you’re sure about them. Some people can take several months before they feel happy to make plans for their future care or treatment.
When you’ve decided what plans you would like to make, it’s best to write them down. Ask your health or social care professionals if they have a specific document where you can write down your wishes for your care or make an Advance Directive.
If you want to make a will or create a Power of Attorney, it’s a good idea to see a solicitor, as these are important legal documents. You can also talk to a solicitor about making an Advance Directive.
Your health and social care professionals may also record some of this information on a document known as a Key Information Summary. This document makes sure that key information about your wishes is available to the different professionals involved in your care when your GP surgery is closed. Your health and social care team can tell you more about a Key Information Summary.
Keep all your documents in a safe placeBack to top
Make sure your family, friends and healthcare or other professionals can access them. Your family should know where they are.
Review your documents regularlyBack to top
This is to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Your wishes can vary over time, especially if your circumstances change. You can review your documents with your health and social care professionals. It’s important to include the people close to you too.
Remember that you can change your plans at any timeBack to top
If you do change any of your plans, make sure that everyone involved in your care knows. You should also document your new wishes, even if this isn’t a legal requirement for the particular plan you want to change. Documenting your wishes makes sure that everyone who’s involved in your care knows what they are.
You may find it helpful to use the Planning Ahead checklist [PDF, 61.4kb]. You can use it to keep a record of the ways you have planned ahead, important contacts and where you keep documents, such as your birth certificate and insurance policies. Make sure someone close to you knows where you keep this checklist.
An example of planning ahead - Jane's story
My father has been diagnosed with a progressive illness that may, in the future, leave him unable to make decisions for himself. He understands the likely course of his illness, and is able to make decisions for himself at the present time. It was his choice to document where he wants to be cared for during the rest of his life, and to write a Lasting Power of Attorney in the event that he becomes unable to make decisions for himself.
We (his family) realise that his choices may change over time. We also realise that he may lose capacity to make decisions for himself. He has stated simply where he wants to be cared for and why, and also some arrangements for his funeral.
Having talked about his wishes (Preferred Priorities for Care) and written them down, my father has the chance to remain in control of his care when his condition deteriorates.
These conversations about advance care planning were difficult and took time. However, we will now be able to make sure that our father’s choices stay central to any care decisions and we will be involved in each stage of his future care. Knowing that we did our best for him will help us face whatever the future holds.