This dying-to-talk dictionary is a collection of definitions of terms. Every discipline has its own specialised set of words, phrases, and jargon that you need to know, and planning ahead is no different.
We will regularly update this page when things change or we find new terms we are unfamiliar with.
If something is not clear, or simply isn’t here, please email us at [email protected]
Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 ADMA
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 also known as the ‘2015 Act’. The 2015 Act establishes a new legal framework for supporting decision-making. It is written into law but is not commenced. Expectations are that the law begins towards the end of 2022. You can find here more information on this law from the Decision Support Service. https://www.decisionsupportservice.ie/
Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning is choosing to talk with someone who works in healthcare and/or a member of your family/friends. Advance Care Planning is several conversations that give us space to think about and discuss end-of-life care. This is not always easy. It can take time. We should not rush it or force them.
These conversations can take place any time and can cover a wide range of topics, such as:
- A person’s understanding of their prognosis/ illness. A prognosis is an estimate of the future of someone, especially about whether a patient will recover from an illness
- A person’s beliefs, values, wishes, treatments they would like, interventions, and place of care
- What is of most importance? Is it the place of care, management of pain, or something else?
Advance Care Planning is a process, a series of conversations.
Advance Care Plan
If we have had an Advance Care Planning conversation, record what you have talked about in an Advance Care Plan. You can then share any information with those important to you.
Think Ahead is an Advance Care Plan and helps you set out your wishes. It is simple to use and has tips to help you talk and plan. In your Think Ahead booklet you can record the following;
- Where you wish to be cared for, e.g. at home if possible.
- Your food and drink preferences.
- What music you like and dislike.
- What spiritual or religious beliefs you may want.
- Who you would like around you.
Advance Healthcare Directive (AHD)
An AHD is usually a written statement (but can include voice, video recording, and speech recognition technologies). Its focus is what you would like to happen for your healthcare in the future. An AHD is available as part of our Think Ahead pack and you can order it here.
A few key elements of an AHD are:
- Refusing medical treatments for health care.
- Choosing someone to act on your behalf.
- Ensuring that your wishes are in writing, and are signed and witnessed.
Your AHD will ask you to record any treatments you wish to refuse and the situation of the refusal. Getting the wording right is essential. Recording ‘Do not resuscitate me’ can have a variety of meanings medically and may not translate in the way you want.
Instead, write something specific like ‘Do not attempt Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR)’. You can ask your healthcare team to help you if you need additional information specific to you.
You may record in your AHD what treatments you would wish to have, but be aware your treating healthcare team may refuse your requests. For example:
- the treatment you want may not be available
- it may be unlikely to work clinically
- it may cause you more harm than good
- the treatment may cause pain, discomfort, or distress, which would outweigh any benefits for you.
Where possible, you will make these decisions with your healthcare team. It is helpful to them to know your wishes and preferences so they can use them to guide your care. For example, you can record in your AHD:
- I wish to be given medical treatment to ease pain or distress, or aimed at ensuring my comfort.
- I wish to receive counseling along with medication if available.
- I wish to be treated at home if possible.
Basic care is warmth, shelter, oral nutrition, oral hydration, and hygiene measures. Basic care does not include artificial nutrition or hydration, as they are medical treatments. You cannot refuse basic care in an AHD.
Capacity is a person’s ability to decide for themselves. It centres on the person’s ability to make a specific decision at a specific time. For someone to have the capacity, they must be able to carry out the following:
- Understand information relevant to the decision
- Keep that information long enough to make a voluntary choice
- Use or weigh up that information as part of deciding
- Communicate their decision in whatever way they communicate (not only verbally)
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
An Enduring Power of Attorney is an arrangement you make with a solicitor if you lose capacity in the future.
It is a legal document in which you choose people who you trust to act on your behalf if a time comes and you cannot decide for yourself.
Whoever you choose must be someone you trust. Normally the person you choose is a spouse or someone close, one of your children, a trusted friend, or a brother or sister. The person you choose to act on your behalf is called an attorney.
An EPA gives your attorney the power to;
- Use and control your property, personal belonging, money, and resources.
- Where you should live and who you should live with.
- The people you can see and not see.
- What you wear and what you eat.
- Access to your personal papers.
- Receipt of housing, social welfare, and other benefits.
- An EPA will stop after the person who has made it dies.
If making an EPA is something you are considering or would like to find out more about it, it’s important you do so sooner rather than later.
- An EPA needs to be prepared when you’re in good health and have capacity. Capacity is a person’s ability to decide for themselves.
- You will need a solicitor to guide you through this process.
- You will need a doctor to decide that you have capacity.
- You may qualify for legal aid if you cannot afford to pay legal fees.
- To find a solicitor you can visit the Law Society of Ireland web site
Without an EPA, your loved one’s may face difficulties and possibly financial loss if you become unable to manage your affairs. For more detailed information on EPA’s look at the Citizens Advice Bureau’s information here
More information on our Legal Decisions page.
A will is a legal document, signed in the presence of two witnesses, that states what should happen to your estate (your assets) after you have died. It allows you to name persons (your executors) who will carry out your wishes set out in your will after your death.
Whatever age you are, writing a Will is the only way to make your wishes for your assets are granted after your death. Many of us die without making a Will and believe our wishes will be honoured, anyway. This is not always the case. If you do not make a Will, the law, and not you will decide on the distribution of your assets.
A Will can make life easier to distribute your assets in the way you wish while avoiding any unnecessary taxation.
For more information on the legal aspects of Advance Care Planning, please visit our Legal Decisions page.