This new resource has been developed by Strathcarron Hospice and Talking Mats to help people with advanced illness or long term conditions to think ahead and plan for the future.
It consists of a booklet and 3 topic symbol sets: Affairs; Care/treatment; Personal values
It can be used to help people have conversations about:
• the extent to which their personal affairs are sorted;
• what they would or would not consider about future treatments and care;
• what is going well/not going well in relation to their personal values
It is widely recognised that having discussions about end of life issues can enable people to remain in control for longer and help them to identify the care and support they need and want as they approach death. In spite of this, in Scotland:
- 74% of people have not discussed what their wishes would be if they did not have long to live
- 79% of people don’t have any written plans for their end of life care, financial wishes or funeral plans
- Only 35% of people have written a Will
It can sometimes be difficult for people to start conversations about planning for end of life and people this is exacerbated if people have specific difficulties communicating their thoughts and feelings because of symptoms, fatigue and emotional factors. Before initiating this type of conversation it can be helpful to check the extent of a person’s understanding of their illness and whether or not they want to talk about the future.
The importance of having conversations and making plans for end of life has been highlighted as being relevant for people in the early stages of life limiting illness as well as for those nearing the end of life. There is evidence that people who have Advance or Anticipatory Care Plans in place are more likely to receive the care that they want and treatment can be less invasive. ACP is a process rather than a one-off conversation. It is acknowledged that ACP discussions should take place in appropriate settings with sufficient time to enable to people to consider and weigh up different options. ACP should also be developed in line with peoples’ personal values and goals (Sinuff Tasnim, et al.(2015) “Improving end-of-life communication and decision making: the development of a conceptual framework and quality indicators.” Journal of pain and symptom management 49.6 2015): 1070-1080).
Perhaps we should think about planning ahead whether or not we have advanced illness or long term conditions??
To get the most out of the resource we run half day advanced training courses which will include the Thinking Ahead Resource. This course will be relevant to you if you:
- have attended a Talking Mats foundation training and are experienced in using Talking Mats with adults
- want to extend your use of Talking Mats and consider its role and application to advance care planning
- want to discuss sensitive topics around end of life care
Please contact us at 01786 479511 if you are interested in future dates.