What is an Advance Statement? And why would I need one?

Advance statement healthcare needs

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It may never happen. But what if you are unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself about your healthcare and everyday needs, such as looking after your property or pet?

This guide answers the  most frequently asked questions around this subject and what you can do to plan for this possibility.

Who is this guide for? 

  • Anyone concerned about their daily care and welfare needs, in the event they are unable to make these decisions for themselves 
  • Anyone curious as to whether you can leave legally-binding healthcare instructions for others to follow 

Reading time:

 3 mins


What is an Advance Statement?

An Advance Statement allows you to leave instructions about your preferences for your healthcare and everyday needs, in the event that you are unable to communicate and make decisions because you lack mental capacity.

Advance Statement forms are freely available from healthcare institutions, or you can create your own.

Often people who are terminally ill prepare in advance in this way, but everyone should think about writing an Advance Statement before it's too late.  

Once done, it's a good idea to check your statement periodically as your preferences and circumstances, may change.

Why do I need an Advance Statement?

An Advance Statement lets relatives and carers know the following, in the event you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.

  • the day-to-day things you need taking care of
  • your healthcare and wellbeing needs, and
  • preferences for your living arrangements, in case you need to be moved

Is an Advance Statement the same as an Advance Decision?

No.  An Advance Statement is not the same as an Advance Decision.  

An Advance Statement lets you set down your preferences  for how you would like to be cared for when you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.

An Advance Decision is your decision to refuse types of life-sustaining treatment, even if it means you might die.  For more information on an Advance Decision, click here.

Advance Statement directions for your care and daily needs

You can include any aspect of your  healthcare and daily needs in an Advance Statement, but we suggest you consider the following as a minimum:

  • Where you would like to be cared for, e.g. at home (whether at all costs or only under certain conditions)
  • Key people you would like involved in your care, which may include specific family members or friends
  • Key people you would like to care for your pets
  • Your preference for a bath or shower
  • Who you would like to wash and dress you
  • Who you would like to take care of your personal hygiene needs
  • What you would like to be dressed in
  • Any foods you would like or not like to eat (include any food allergies or food intolerances)
  • Who you would and would not want to visit you
  • How you wish each day to be planned, e.g. if you would like to be taken outside regularly
  • Your views and religious beliefs, and how they might impact on the above points
  • Your funeral wishes
  • Download our free Funeral Wishes Planner.  You record your wishes in the Planner as it takes you step-by-step through your funeral options.  This lets loved ones know what you would like to happen and saves them from the added upset of not knowing whether they have made the right decisions.

Is an Advance Statement legally binding?

No.  An Advance Statement is not legally binding, but anyone responsible or involved in your care should take your daily needs and healthcare wishes into account where possible.

What's the difference between an Advance Statement and a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

An Advance Statement outlines your daily needs and healthcare wishes when you lose the ability to act and think for yourself.

A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint one or more people you trust to make daily care and healthcare decisions on your behalf, and decisions on your living arrangements,  when you no longer have the mental capacity to do so.  

The person or people you appoint as your 'attorney' do not have to be a relative or spouse.  

Do I need an Advance Statement if I have a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

An Advance Statement is not legally binding, but it's better to have one than nothing at all.

A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)  is a legal document.  It will give you peace of mind that you have someone who can deal with your health and welfare matters when you have reached the point where you are no longer capable of making those decisions yourself.  It also means that the power is taken away from healthcare professionals and from social workers who may step in to make decisions on your living arrangements.

Useful RESOURCES

Learn more about the legality of an Advance Decision document to refuse life-sustaining treatment.

About the Author

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Kim is the founder & CEO of Before You Go. Kim began working in the funeral industry in the late 90s. She is a renowned funeral cost expert and has commented in many national papers, on the radio and on the BBC and ITV. She is a member of funeral and bereavement parliamentary groups in England and Wales. In 2017 Kim was included in the annual Maserati & Sunday Times list of top 100 UK business people, for having a positive impact on her industry and society as a whole.


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