Planning your care - Advance statements - How
Making an advance statement
If you want to make an advance statement you need to find out if your local Mental Health Trust has an advance statement scheme. You can check this with your care coordinator, psychiatrist or GP.
If you have an advance statement through a scheme, it might be easier than if you wrote it yourself. You might need to get a signature from someone else, such as your doctor on your advance statement. The scheme should also explain where they will keep your statement and who can look at it.
You do not have to use a template for an advance statement. You can just tell someone your advance statement instead of writing it down. However, it is better if it is in writing.
The British Medical Association's Code of Practice suggests that an advance statement should include the following information:
- your full name and address,
- your GP details,
- a statement of what treatment you want,
- what treatments you do not want,
- the details of someone you want services to contact when you’re unwell such as a friend or relative,
- if any professional gave you advice when you wrote your advanced statement,
- your signature,
- date of signing, and
- a signature from a witness.
You can include practical arrangements. These might be who you want to look after your children or pets, deal with your benefits or bills when you are ill. You should check with the person you want to do this before you put them in your advance statement.
When you make your statement the drugs and treatment you want may not be available in the future. You should make your advanced decision based on what is available now. If this changes you can update your advance decision. If the treatment is not available they will give you something else.
Where to keep your statement
Professionals need to know that you have an advance statement. It is important that whoever is close to knows about your advance statement and where it is.
You should think about giving a copy of the statement to:
- your GP,
- your mental health team, and
- a friend or relative.
You may carry a ‘crisis card’ (see section 1) or wear an alert bracelet. These tell people that you have an advance statement and where it is in an emergency. If your life is at risk doctors will treat you even if they don’t have your advance statement.
Updating your statement
If you have made an advance statement you should update it if you change your mind about what it says. You could add information and attach it to your original statement. If you are making a lot of changes you could write a new statement. You need to destroy the original statement and any copies so health professionals don’t get them mixed up.
Even if you don't want to make any changes to your statement you should review it from time to time. This will make sure that you are still happy with it.
Ending an advance statement
If you decide that you don’t want to have an advance statement you can end it. This is known as “revoking your statement”.
If you do want to revoke it, you should destroy the original statement and any copies. You should tell someone if you chose them to look after you when you are unwell.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays