West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has produced a new resource pack designed for patients, their carers and families, and professionals to help them to have conversations about their future wishes and to record these in the form of an advance care plan. It will help people to have what can be quite difficult conversations in a supportive and compassionate way.

The guide includes easy-to-navigate sections on why advance care planning is important and when and how these conversations should be started.  It includes top tips and links to a wide range of other resources, including videos and e-learning.

Recording future wishes can be empowering and a way for people to feel more in control when the future seems uncertain. If at a future time, the person is no longer able to make their wishes known, they will have the assurance that their wishes will still be heard.

Dr Andrew Sixsmith, GP Partner and Clinical Advisor to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

“Often people are not given the opportunity to consider and express their future wishes in a timely way and this can lead to regret on behalf of both families and professionals.  Starting these discussions early gives the opportunity for conversations to evolve over a period of time without any pressure on the individual or family to make rapid decisions.”

With this in mind, alongside the new Advance Care Plan resource, the Partnership has updated the material for people living with a long term condition, including those with dementia.

Dr Sara Humphrey, GP Partner with a Special Interest in Older People; Associate Clinical Director Frailty/Dementia and GP Advisor to West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said:

“It’s particularly important for people living with dementia that they are offered these opportunities in a timely way.  This ensures that, if they choose to, people with dementia are able to make their wishes known regarding future care, helping the people who care for them and about them  to understand what they would have wanted if they are no longer able communicate this themselves.”