Making sure people know about your advance decision

Let people know that you have an advance decision and where to find the document. You should make copies of it for people close to you. 

Making an advance decision will be of no use if no one else knows about it. You should keep the original signed document somewhere safe.

You should also make several copies and give them to the following people:

  • your GP or doctor, to keep with your medical records
  • your hospital team, to place in your case notes. Ask for a copy to be added to your Summary care record (SCR) as additional information. You will have a SCR if you agreed for the NHS to create one from your GP record. You could ask your GP to create one if you don’t have one. Staff in A&E departments can access your SCR if you arrive there unable to speak to them
  • a close relative or friend, more than one is best if possible
  • your attorney under a Lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, if you have one.

My advance decision in an emergency 

If there is an emergency and you need care from a paramedic or in an ambulance, or in A&E, there may not be time to find your documents.

To increase the chance of your advance decision being followed by medical professionals, you could carry a card, or wear a bracelet that lets them know that you have made an advance decision and where it is.

There are various suppliers who will personalise a brightly coloured plastic wristband for you, or you could get a local jeweller or engraver to personalise a bracelet for you. 

Helping emergency personnel to find your advance decision 

MedicAlert® provide identity jewellery that links your membership number to your medical information (which can include any advance decision you have made). This charity operates throughout the UK. There is a fee for their services.

There are some schemes such as ‘Message in a bottle’, which might also help. This scheme is run throughout the UK by Lions Clubs and is free.

If you join the scheme you will get a bottle, inside which you can store important medical information (this could include your advance decision). You then put the bottle in your fridge. You’ll also get a sticker to put on the fridge and on your front door, which will alert emergency services to the existence of the bottle.

Ask your GP or pharmacist about similar schemes.