In Ireland today, around 40% of us will die in a hospital. 23% in a nursing home 23 % at home and 8% in a hospice. (CSO 2017)
Where we want to die and where we actually die may be different. If where you die is important to you, you should have a conversation about it with those closest to your and healthcare workers.
- Fill in your Think Ahead form and fill in the parts that are important to you, and also think about what information may be important to others.
- Think Ahead allows you to record a summary of your medical history, any medications you are receiving this information is important to any healthcare workers that may take care of you – so it is useful to have it recorded in one place.
Tips to Think Ahead
- Take small steps. Think about it yourself and then, if you can talk and discuss your decisions with someone else.
- Even though it feels daunting, completing something as important as Think Ahead is a kindness to yourself and to those important to you.
- Remember it’s important to revisit your decisions as time moves on; your situation and health may change and you might want to add or take away information, and that is okay.
Think about your final days
You don’t have to, but it might help you to close your eyes and picture your final days. Have a blank piece of paper to jot down your answers.
- Take a deep breath and close your eyes. What would you like your final days to look like?
- Where would you ideally like to be?
- What would you like around you?
- Who would you like to be with you?
- Is there music playing, is the telly on?
- Are people coming in and out …?
There is a space in Think Ahead for your answers if you want to write them down. When you have completed this exercise, you might want to sit down and talk about it with those important to you.
Storing Think Ahead
- Store your copy of Think Ahead securely, but where someone can find it if they need to.
- If you have a hospital bag, store a copy in there.
- Let the person you’ve asked to speak on your behalf know where they can find it, or give them a copy if you prefer.
- Ask your GP to make a note on your record that you completed Think Ahead.
- Bring a copy on your next visit to the hospital.
- If you’re being transferred to another medical facility, take a copy of Think Ahead with you.
Review Think Ahead
Your preferences may change over time especially after major life events or illness. If so, consider updating Think Ahead. We recommend you review Think Ahead once a year. It’s a good idea to make a date in your phone to remind you to review it too.
Talking with your healthcare team
It’s useful to include your healthcare team and let them know you have completed Think Ahead.
Remember, your healthcare team cannot ensure your wishes are respected unless they know what they are.Try and take some time to talk with them about what is important to you.
We are encouraged to make choices throughout our lives such as pregnancy in open and honest conversations; what kind of birth do we want, do we want painkillers etc. Is a knee replacement right for us? We should also try and have the same depth of conversation about the end of our lives. But it should be a calm, careful and considered conversation.