LIVING WILLS / ADVANCE DIRECTIVES
wills/advance directives set out the kind of medical treatment you
would like to receive or not receive should you ever be in a condition
that prevents you from expressing those wishes at some time in the
They are becoming popular in Britain and around
the world. You can say in advance what you would like to happen.
We believe such directives should be the norm, not the exception, as
they are invaluable in easing the anxiety and guilt involved in vital
decisions which must be taken by others (e.g. doctors and relatives)
when you become too ill to express your own wishes.
BMA supports living wills/advance directives and suggests that patients
lodge one copy with their doctor. From raising this matter with local
health professionals we know that Manx doctors would also value the
clear prior instruction from patients such a document can bring when
planning end of life care, be it in connection with a long term
terminal illness or in the swift medical decision-making which may be
necessary after an accident or natural disaster.
Manx hospitals do not yet ask on admission if a patient has made such a
directive but they are now considering adding a question to admission
forms and making arrangements to hold copies of living wills/advance
directives with patient details.
contributed to an exciting project to introduce the concept of Living
Wills to people in both the North and South of Ireland.
focus of the campaign was an extensive report by the Irish Council of
Bioethics entitled ‘Is It Time For Advance Healthcare Directives’ (see www.bioethics.ie
for further details), which gathered the views of Irish people of all
backgrounds and put forward recommendations to the Dail. Our friends in
Humani (Humanist Association of Northern Ireland), Belfast Humanist group and Humanist Association of Ireland were then instrumental in the formation of the Living Wills Trust
and Manx residents were amongst those who gave responses to a model
Living Will drawn up by the LWT which enabled this to be ‘fine tuned’.
LWT admirably takes the view that no-one should have to pay for the
security an advance directive/living will brings and thus offers free
information including a template of a legally secure Irish Living Will.
yet, though the Attorney General answered a Tynwald question in 2003 by
suggesting Living Wills ought to be generally valid in Manx law, no
detailed legal opinion has been given.
Meanwhile, the Irish
model may make a useful template which anyone can then take to a Manx
attorney for further advice. You can obtain it at www.livingwillstrust.com.
Alternatively, if you join Dignity in Dying
(£15) you get a free living will. More information from Dignity in
Dying, 13 Prince of Wales Terrace, London, W8 5PG or telephone 071 987
The Natural Death Centre offers Advance Decision Forms from their bookshop: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/index.php?page=book-shop
Their Natural Death Handbook - now in its 5th
edition - covers; inexpensive, environmentally friendly and DIY
funerals, 200+ natural burial grounds, bio-degradable and mail order
coffins, a Good Funeral Guide to the funeral trade, caring for the
dying at home, living wills, advance funeral wishes, et
5th edition £24 including postage and packing.
National Helpline 0871 288 2098