Kildare doctors advise planning ahead for what is inevitable

Richard Lynch, Limerick Person of the Year, launched the three-month pilot phase of the Think Ahead initiative.
Local doctors are calling for better planning towards the end of life. GPs in Co. Kildare and West Wicklow say they and their patients would benefit from forward planning.

Local doctors are calling for better planning towards the end of life. GPs in Co. Kildare and West Wicklow say they and their patients would benefit from forward planning.

They stress that any planning would be done in a manner as comfortable, effective and as organised as possible.

The Kildare Faculty of the Irish College of General Practitioners and K Doc plan to run a regional initiative this year.

It will be based on “Think Ahead”, an innovative end-of-life planning tool for people who wish to organise their affairs and it’ll liaise with key services in the area (Naas Hospital, the Palliative Care Service, local nursing homes) and coordinating this with the Irish Hospice Foundation, the Forum on End of Life in Ireland and the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at Trinity College.

Think Ahead is regarded as a valuable care planning tool which can be used by anyone who’s interested in planning this important part of their life. The Think Ahead Forum - set up as a questionnaire type document - is freely available to anyone on the Think Ahead website (www.thinkahead.ie) with helpful and well thought out information on the tricky bits.

The form has been developed by the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, building on international best practice. It enables people to plan their affairs and express their preferences regarding their health care as well as their wishes concerning their legal and financial affairs.

“It’s an excellent and easy to use tool,” notes Dr. Brendan O’Shea of the Co. Kildare Faculty of the ICGP.

“People find it leads them effectively and positively through decisions that they might otherwise find difficult and they are encouraged to work through it with a friend or family member.” They are also encouraged to discuss it with their own doctor.