Advance care planning for someone with dementia

Dementia is a disease that can severely reduce someone’s ability to live independently. However, this is a variety of support services available to allow them to remain in their own home. Caring for dementia patients in their own home will involve things like feeding, dressing, bathing and mobility, all of which will be detailed in an advanced care plan.

What is advance care planning.

Advance care planning is a way to make sure that a dementia patient is receiving the support that they want. Everyone who is invested in caring for that person must discuss and record the person’s wishes regarding the future of their care. Ensuring that doctors and care workers know these things will mean that its more likely that the person will be supported as they’d like to be, even if they don’t have the capacity to say this in the future. Advance dementia care planning can also reduce feelings of anxiety.

Statements for future wishes and refusal of treatment

If it is expected that someone is going to lose capacity in the future, they can discuss how they wish to be treated and supported. These are known as ‘advanced statements’, and while they don’t need to be written down, it’s a good idea to do so and attach them to a care plan.

Some examples of advanced statements include:
•    I would want to stay in my own home as long as possible.
•    I would want to have a strict vegetarian diet.
•    I would want you to involve my partner and children in my decisions.
•    I would not want religion to play any part in my future.
•    I would not want any treatment that could worsen the effects of my dementia.

If these wishes are not complied with, a care worker would need a good reason as to why. However, a best interests decision could be made to take into account the person’s wishes as much as possible. For example, many people make an advanced statement that they wish to stay in their own home, but it’s not always possible to adhere to this, particularly if their health begins to deteriorate further.

Lasting power of attorney.

We all have the right to have a named individual who we wish to make decisions for us if we’re no longer able to make them ourselves. The Mental Capacity Act means that you can now do this for money, property, health and welfare. This is known as the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and while in most cases your attorney will be a family member, you can also choose a close friend or even a solicitor. The attorney must always make decisions with the best interests of the person in mind.

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