Specialist care for adults in Dorset with a life limiting illness

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We've put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about Weldmar and the services we offer.

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Weldmar Hospicecare

Advance Care Planning Hub:

Getting the conversation started

Sometimes, the most difficult thing can be getting a conversations started about future care and wishes.

Back to Advance Care Planning Hub

“It’s not about their death, it’s about their journey – in more ways than one, the Advance Care Plan is a ‘living’ document.”

Having conversations about our future wishes, especially our preferences for care, can be difficult to have. However, these conversations don’t necessarily need to be formal, filling in forms and answering difficult questions about the medical options available to us when the time comes. They can also be more informal discussions with those responsible for our care, where useful information can be noted and documented. We can also change our minds at any time about any of our our wishes.

Advice for health care professionals

When to have the conversations

There can be certain triggers for starting these conversations, which include being diagnosed with a life limiting illness, referred for care by a hospice care charity such as Weldmar, the death of someone close to you, or moving into a care home. For health care professionals involved in our care, the Advance Care Planning process can begin straight away.

Everyone is different. Some people may like to feel they need to get their affairs in order and welcome a more formal approach. Others may open up during an activity. Some may even put up barriers to having these conversations at all.

Notes can be kept of things that come up in conversation, such as favourite flowers, music preferences, what else the individual likes or dislikes. These can be noted and added to a plan.

This video contains some useful prompts that can start a conversation that contributes towards an individual’s plan.

Involve as many people as possible

It can be just as difficult for loved ones to approach the subject of planning for future care of a loved one. If possible, involve the loved ones in the conversations so they are clear what the individual’s wishes are, which will go a long way to preventing difficult situations further down the line.

For those who are in care homes, it can be a good idea to ‘debrief’ with members of staff less directly involved in care – those who co-ordinate activities, our housekeeping or catering team members. Encourage them to come forward with any useful information they pick up on during conversations.

Additional factors to be aware of:

  • This is an ongoing process, have conversations regularly to keep the plan up to date and reflect on earlier conversations
  • Is the setting right? Consider comfort, privacy, and time
  • Is the person open to discussion? Respect the wishes of those who don’t wish to take part
  • Ask open questions wherever possible
  • Are you fully informed about background/health issues?
  • Having adequate knowledge and being honest if you don’t know the answer
  • Have awareness of your own limitations – learn from colleagues when they have Advance Care Planning conversations
  • Review if things change or it seems appropriate


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