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Patient, Families & Carers

Facing our own end of life or the end of life of a family member, friend or someone we are caring for can be a difficult thing. It can be an emotional journey and often a sad one. A few things can make that journey easier to travel, for example having the support we need, being prepared and open and knowing we are doing the best for those we care about and/or support.

There are 5 key things to do to prepare for the end of life:

1. Write an Advance Care Plan

This plan can help you prepare for the future. It gives you an opportunity to think about, talk about and write down your wishes and preferences for care in the future and at the end of your life.

The plan can help you and your carers (your family, friends and professionals) to understand what is important to you when planning your care. If a time comes when, for whatever reason, you are unable to make a decision for yourself, anyone who has to make decisions about your care on your behalf will have to take into account anything you have written in your plan.

You can download a copy of our Gentle Dusk Advance Care Plan here.

If you live in London you can initiate your own Coordinate My Care Urgent Care Plan.

Coordinate My Care puts you at the heart of planning your medical care by making sure that your wishes are taken into account by everyone who will be looking after you.

You can initiate your own Coordinate My Care plan (CMC) through myCMC. myCMC enables you to explain your current situation and explain where and how you would like to be cared for and people to contact in an emergency.  Your GP or clinician will then include all the important clinical information like your medical history, any diagnosis, treatments and medications.

Once your plan is complete, CMC will share the information with all the health professionals who might be involved in treating you, such as 111, your out of hours GP, the ambulance paramedics and the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department. They will be able to see your plan and be guided by it. They will know who you are, what you have, and how you want (and don't want) to be treated, and they will do all they can to respect your wishes.

For more information about go to:

2. Make a Will

Writing a will allows you to be the decision maker of what happens to your possessions and money. It also makes the process of sorting out your affairs a lot easier for those you have left behind.

For more information go to:

3. Organise a Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (attorneys) to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make decisions (you 'lack mental capacity').

For more information go to:

4. Record your Funeral Wishes

Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a funeral service? A religious or non-religious ceremony? Do you want a party afterwards? If so, what form would you like it to take? These are just some of the questions you might wish to think about. You can leave written wishes about what is important to you.

You can find a full list of topics to think and talk about and some useful links here

5. Consider Organ Donation or Body Donation

From 20 May 2020, organ donation in England has moved to an 'opt out' system. This means that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded their wish NOT to donate their organs on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Or unless they are in one of the excluded groups:

          - Those under the age of 18
          - People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary actions
          - Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily
          - People who have lived in England for less than 12months before their death

More information about organ donation can be found here

Information about full body donation can be found here


Facing the loss of someone we love is a very painful experience. Whether you are supporting someone who is bereaved or have lost someone yourself, there is help available out there. Reaching out for support is very important for you and those around you, for both physical and mental health, and wellbeing. The organisations below can provide you with a list of local support which can make a difference.

The Good Grief Trust
Cruse Bereavement Care


Dying Matters – national programme for public awareness of dying, death and bereavement.

Age UK Lifebook – this is an easy way to record the practical details of your life. Once completed, it will provide valuable information for those who care for you to have in an emergency or once you have died.


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