Advance care planning in Northern Ireland

This section is about some of the ways you can plan ahead and make choices about your future care. 

This section, which was produced by the Public Health Agency and Macmillan Cancer Support, includes information on:

  • Advance Care Plans – these are your wishes about how you would like to be cared for at the end of your life
  • Enduring Power of Attorney – this is when you give someone you trust the power to make decisions on your behalf about your property and finances
  • Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment (Advance Directives) – these are your decisions about specific treatments that you don’t want to have.
  • There is also information about making a will|, organ and tissue donation|, and planning your funeral|.

    Planning for your future care is important in case you ever become unable to make choices yourself, for example if you were to become unconscious or lose capacity| (the ability) to make decisions about treatment. 

    We hope the information here answers some of your questions and helps you deal with some of the feelings you may have. 

    We can’t advise you about the best ways to plan ahead for yourself. You may find it helpful to discuss what’s best for you with a health and social care professional, and someone close to you.

    After reading this information, you may not want to plan ahead. Or you may need more time to think about it, or want to discuss it with someone else. That’s fine – it’s your decision.

    There are two documents available in this section, which you can use to help you think about and write down some of your wishes and decisions for your future care:

    What’s important to me [PDF, 33Kb] – You can use this document to make notes about what’s important to you for your care at the end of your life. Your notes will provide helpful information for your Advance Care Plan.

    My Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment [PDF, 36Kb] – You can use this document to record your decision to refuse specific treatments.

    You may also want to discuss the information in this section with our cancer support specialists|.

Planning ahead

Planning ahead is important for anyone, regardless of whether they have an illness or not.

Many people think they don’t need to make decisions about their future care unless they reach a time when they know that an illness, such as advanced cancer or heart failure, can no longer be treated.

However, planning ahead is important for anyone, regardless of whether they have an illness or not. This is because none of us can say for sure whether we’ll always be able to make our own decisions about our care. For example, some people may become very ill unexpectedly. They may then be unable to make decisions about their health or social care, or make any financial plans for their close family or friends.

Living with cancer, motor neurone disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure or any other long-term illness may start you thinking about your future care and what you’d want to happen if you were to become seriously ill. Even if you’ve been cured of an illness, it’s still helpful to think about the future.

You can talk through your wishes or other plans with a professional and a family member or friend you trust. Remember that you’re the expert on you, and only you can know exactly how you’d like to be cared for.

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