Effective end-of-life care planning in Scotland: culture and law.
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CHRISTIE, S. . Effective end-of-life care planning in Scotland: culture and law. Journal of medical law and ethics, (accepted).
In the context of an ageing population, end-of-life care planning is increasingly important. The law in Scotland does not, as yet, take the active and specific steps to help address this that are evident in other jurisdictions. I contend that there are two particular issues which need to be addressed here: normalising the idea of a discussion about dying, such that individuals feel entitled to discuss and plan for it by way of an advance directive, feel that it is a valuable exercise, and feel reassured that their plans will not falter if they lose capacity; and formulating an approach which prompts and encourages that discussion, but also promotes autonomous decision-making. I assert that the law can, and should help with this by providing a legislative basis for advance directives in order to set out the requirements for formal validity, and by making provision for an allied, non-mandatory pro-forma to guide and assist those who wish to use it.