NHS.UK provide information on how to start a conversation with your friends or family about your terminal diagnosis.
"I need help with my end of life care."
Nobody wants to think about when they will die, but death is something we all face at some point in our lives.
Preparing a plan for the care and support you will need within the last months or years of your life will:
There's no set way of making an end of life care plan, but here’s some advice you may find useful.
As well as planning for your end of life, you may also want to think about any other conversations you have planned to have with friends or family members and you haven't yet. If talking to people is difficult, you could think about writing letters. If there is someone you haven't seen in while - you may wish to arrange this.
It can be difficult to think about how your life will change as your illness progresses. However, it is very important to do this now as it’ll help both your loved ones and the medical professionals who treat you to understand your wishes - particularly if you can not communicate them further down the line.
Here are some topics you may wish to consider:
Think about the everyday things you do and how you like to do them, for example:
It may seem odd to document your routine, but by writing it down, the people around you can help you to continue living your life as normal as possible.
Choosing your place of care
You may want to consider where you want to live at the end of your life.
Like most people, you may want to spend the end of your life at home, however as you are nearing death and very unwell, this may not always be possible. At this time, you may prefer to receive support in one of the following places:
Healthcare, medical treatments and interventions
Thinking about what would happen if you became ill is difficult, but it is important to recognise that there might come a time when you are unable to express your thoughts and wishes. For example, if you had a stroke.
Some people make an advanced decision, also known as a living will. This allows you to write down any treatments that you don't want to have in the future. It can clarify your wishes for family members, carers and health professionals. For example, if you want to refuse treatment in some situations and not others.
Make sure you talk to your GP or local healthcare team about your plans. They will be able to provide, or guide you to, detailed information to help you make informed choices.
It is now automatically considered that you have no objections to being an organ donor when you die.
You still have a choice though. You can register to your wish not to be an organ donor on the NHS website.
When the time comes your family will always be asked, so it is important to let them know what you have decided.
Practical issues may be the last thing you want to think about towards the end of your life. But you may find it helpful to put some arrangements in place now so that you are confident about what will happen at the end of your life and after your death.
Power of attorney
Power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf.
You might need someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, on:
Making a will is important for many reasons:
There are several ways to make a will. You can:
If you have 1 or more pets, it is important to put steps in place to safeguard their wellbeing when you are no longer here to care for them. Here are some options to consider.
Before you do anything else, we recommend that you talk to family and friends to see if any of them would be willing to take on your pet(s). Be honest with them. Make sure they understand what is required so they can make an informed decision. Tell them the following things about your pet(s):
They should also be aware of the costs involved, such as with:
Your pet(s) may be easy to care for now, but make sure you check that any potential caregivers can still cope:
When you choose a caregiver, it is worth naming a back up too and putting them in touch with each other. Simply because people’s circumstances can change over time.
Several charities provide a service to care for bereaved pets for the rest of their lives. These services are usually free but you can leave money to the charity in your will as a thank you.
To help you decide, you could arrange visits to each charity. This would allow you to see what life would be like in the care centre if the charity were unable to rehome your pet. You may also be able to meet with people who have rehomed a bereaved pet.
Funerals and memorial services
Usually family members, or the executors to your will, organise what happens after you die.
However you may wish to make some funeral plans of your own to:
Here's are some things for you to consider when planning your funeral or memorial service:
You may also wish to think about your final resting place: