Debate on living wills and social work

We asked:- Would you feel comfortable if one of your
clients had a living will?

Here are some of the responses we received


A great idea – as always though the devil will be in the

Susan Warner

I feel everyone should be entitled to have a living will. I feel we
live in a ‘nanny state’ were we are often given no real choice as
to what should happen to us should we become unwell for any reason.
I have worked for many years with older people some of whom have
had debilitating illnesses and could not make a choice as to how
they would like to live the rest of their life. A living will would
allow that person to make that decision, but I feel caution should
be taken when taking on this will and it should be ensured family
are aware of the clients wishes but overall the clients wishes
should take precedence.

Mary Murphy

I am concerned that living wills can be over-ridden by Common Law
and Principle of Urgent Necessity. Are there any occasions when
this is not the case?

Liz Azubuike

Polari works with groups of older lesbians and gay men, looking at
ways that older people’s services could be made more
gay-friendly. Most of our members are keen on the idea of living
wills in order to ensure that any future care is suitable for them.
Members regard themselves as a cultural minority and their sexual
orientation as a much valued part of their identity, which they
would want recognised and respected if their mental capacity became
impaired.  However, we are aware too that there are ethical issues
created by living wills and we are listening to the disability
movement on this. 

Lindsay River
Project Co-ordinator
Polari in Partnership

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