Planning ahead can be hard. But it can help you to talk with your healthcare team, family or friends about what matters to you. It can help everyone to understand the care, treatment and support you want for your future. And it can also be a way of taking back control, at a time when so many things feel uncertain.
Hospice UK’s Dying Matters campaign puts it well: Talking about it won’t bring death closer, but it will give you more time to get everything sorted.
What do we mean by planning ahead?
Our previous blog explains how to record your wishes for future treatment in an advance care plan. But you may also want to think about:
Not just for the end of life
When we came to update this information (something we do every few years), we renamed it Planning ahead when living with cancer.
The booklet used to be called Planning ahead for end of life. But when we revised this information, healthcare professionals told us that planning ahead was not just for those at the end of life – it can be helpful to do at any stage of a cancer diagnosis. It is also helpful for anyone to do, whether they have cancer or not. They felt this title was off-putting and told us that they didn’t like giving out the information to people with cancer.
The booklet breaks down each big decision into a series of easy steps, and explains who can help you with each one – whether that’s a Macmillan service, healthcare professionals, a support organisation or someone close to you.
And at the back of the booklet we include a checklist to work through, and template forms to help you organise and record your wishes. You don’t have to read the whole thing in one go – and if you prefer, you can read all our planning ahead information online.
Planning ahead around the UK
Some of the laws and processes involved are different depending on where you live in the UK. So there are different versions of the booklet for:
If you want to speak to a Macmillan adviser about your feelings, treatment or money, give our helpline a call on 0808 808 00 00. Our support line has access to an interpretation service to speak to someone in your language, including BSL. When you call, start the conversation by requesting your language first in English.