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Ask a doctor

Ask a doctor

Your COVID-19 questions answered by Dr Cate O'Neill

A female doctor wearing a stethoscope

Ask a doctor: COVID-19 has made me more aware of my own mortality; what can I do to plan in advance, should the worst happen?

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly brought death and dying into the spotlight and may well have caused us to contemplate our own mortality, whatever our age or health status. Whilst this is not an easy subject to consider, it may prove to be an important lever to engage us in conversation with family or friends about what our own wishes might be, should the worst happen.

When considering advance care planning, you may want to think about the following; where you would like to be cared for leading up to and at the end of life (e.g. home, hospital, hospice or care home); who you would like to speak on your behalf, should you no longer be able to do this for yourself (e.g. appointing a lasting power of attorney); whether or not you would want to be transferred to hospital in the event of a sudden deterioration; writing a Will to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and sharing your preferences for a funeral service.

Whilst these conversations are never easy, they can bring significant relief to both those approaching the end of their lives as well as those close to them by ensuring that their wishes are known and can be respected, should that time come.

There is much to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most important lessons may be for us all to think about what we would want in the event that we become critically unwell so that the care we receive is in-keeping with our wishes.

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