Joseph is a 92 year old man with heart failure and COPD, walking is difficult but he and his wife Mary still get into town for shopping once a week. Joseph
regularly attends the GP surgery but no-one has ever asked what would happen if he or Mary became ill.
Joseph picks up a chest infection he can’t shake. Antibiotics don’t help and Joseph becomes weaker. When he has trouble breathing one night Mary calls
an ambulance which rushes him into hospital. Despite the kindness of hospital staff Joseph dies in hospital 2 days later.
Mary feels she’s let Joseph down. She remembers one night, when he was being romantic he told her he wanted to live beside her all of his life. She keeps
wondering whether he would have wanted to go to hospital. She was sad he had died away from home.
We plan ahead for so many things in life but often don't consider how and where we would like to be cared for if we become ill and are unable to say for
Fred is a 92 year old man living with heart failure and COPD. Although walking is difficult, he and his wife Francis still get into town for shopping once
a week. Fred’s GP has gently, over time, asked Fred what he thinks the future holds.
He encourages Fred and Francis to talk about their choices and wishes. It’s not easy but together they decide that they want to be cared for and die at
home, if at all possible. They visit the doctor who encourages them to document their wishes and complete some Deciding Right paperwork. Keeping the
forms at home means any health/social care professional involved in their future care knows what their wishes are.
One weekend Fred becomes ill. As his chest infection makes him confused he can’t be involved in decisions about his care. Francis shows the emergency doctor
Fred’s documents and asks for him to stay at home. After some discussion the doctor arranges extra support. Francis cares for Fred at home, supported
by the District Nurse and Hospice at Home who provide a hospice night sitter twice a week so Francis can sleep well.
After two weeks Fred dies peacefully at home with Francis at his side.
Although devastated by the loss of her husband, Francis feels pleased that, with the extra support, she was able to fulfil Fred's wishes.
Planning in advance makes a difference. Your health professional can help you talk through your choices, before an emergency happens- ask your GP about ‘Deciding right’
These are example case studies and do not relate to specific real people