'Life-sustaining treatment' means care, surgery, medicine or other help from doctors that's needed to keep someone alive.
You can state in your health and welfare LPA what you'd want to happen if you needed life-sustaining treatment and you no longer had mental capacity.
You have 2 options:
After you print out your LPA document, you'll have to sign and date the option you've chosen. This must be witnessed.
See '...Choice of Attorney' for information on choosing your attorneys.
Life-sustaining treatment: definition
Life-sustaining treatment can include:
Whether some treatments are life-sustaining depends on the situation. For example, if someone had pneumonia, a simple course of antibiotics could be life-sustaining.
Decisions about life-sustaining treatment can be needed in unexpected circumstances. One example is a routine operation where things don't go as planned.
Option A: attorneys
Choose option A if you want your attorneys to decide about life-sustaining treatment if ever you need it and can't make the decisions yourself.
At the end of the LPA service there is a section where you can add instructions and preferences for your attorneys. If you have specific wishes about life-sustaining treatment, make them clear in that section, so that any decisions your attorneys make are as close as possible to the decisions you would have made.
You can specify medical or physical conditions where your attorneys must or must not consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. For example, you can state that your attorneys must not agree to life-sustaining treatment if you are in a persistent vegetative state.
If you have already made an 'advance decision' to refuse a specific life-sustaining treatment, your LPA will override the advance decision if you give your attorneys the power to decide about life-sustaining treatment.
An advance decision is a legally binding document in which you state which life-sustaining treatments you don't want, in case you cannot decide at some point.
See Instructions and preferences for more on giving guidance to your attorneys.
Option B: doctors
Choose option B if you want your doctors to decide about life-sustaining treatment if you can't. If the situation arises, they must:
Making your treatment preferences known
If you've made an advance decision to refuse treatment that your attorneys or doctors must take into account, you can refer to it when adding 'extra instructions' under the 'instructions and preferences' section of this LPA service.
NHS Choices has information about advance decisions.
You can also let people know your views on treatments and care in:
There's more about life-sustaining treatment, advance decisions and how health professionals must respond to your written wishes in chapter 9 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.