Bereavement Support Line 1800 80 70 77

Advance Care Planning & AHDs

Planning for your healthcare at end of life is based around two documents, your Advance Healthcare Plan and your Advance Healthcare Directive. Our Think Ahead form provides guidance on how to plan for your future and allows you record your wishes and instructions to share with your family and healthcare providers.  Our Think Ahead public engagement programmes provide more information and an opportunity to ask questions on Advance Healthcare Planning and Advance Healthcare Directive. 

Your Advance Healthcare Plan  

Your Advance Healthcare Plan is about your overall wishes and preferences about your end of life. It should focus on your wishes now for you’re the care you receive in the future. You should take some time to think about how and where you want to be cared for, and what you want to happen. Setting it out now will make your wishes clearer for those who need to know. 

If you feel you need more support you can seek the help of independent advocacy services or talk to a member of your healthcare team who may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.  

You can download our Think Ahead form to complete in your own time.  

Your Advance Healthcare Directive  

Your Advance Healthcare Directive is a document legally recognised in Ireland where you set out your wishes about medical treatment you want to refuse or request in case you are unable to make these decisions in the future. 

It informs family, friends and doctors of your wishes for your treatment in the event you can no longer communicate them yourself. It’s a legally binding document where you write down what healthcare treatments you wouldn’tlike in the future. You can write what treatments you would like to receive too but that is not legally binding. Health professionals are obliged to explain why they did not follow your preferences.  It relates specifically to your health care and your wishes with regard to your personal health. 

For example if a person did not want to be resuscitated in the event their heart stopped beating, or they did not want to be kept alive by a ventilator they could state that in the document.  It is important to be specific about the circumstances in which you wish to refuse treatment and to make sure that you update your directive if you change your mind. You can also verbally revoke a directive at any time 

Is that not euthanasia or assisted suicide? 

Absolutely not. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are both illegal in Ireland. A patient has the legal right to consent or refuse treatment even if their doctors strongly disagree with their decision.