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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