Protecting you and your wishes.

In our society, death and dying tend to be taboo subjects that people don’t like to mention or dwell on too much.

And, of course, having conversations about death can bring up strong and uncomfortable emotions. We are all worried about getting it ‘wrong’ or hurting someone’s feelings. This can mean that discussing our own or a loved one’s death is avoided.

But, while it can be hard to voice our worries and wishes in respect to Advanced Stage Care (or palliative) care and death, doing so can bring a great sense of relief and connection.

For example, when a person is approaching the end of their life, it is important that the care and treatment they receive is responsive to their needs.

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life, by increasing comfort, promoting dignity and providing a support system to the person who is ill (and those close to them). So, conversations need to take place with the person and their family about where and how they want to be looked after.

If you would like to take care of some aspects of your death, there are lots of helpful resources about making a will, planning your funeral, or planning for future care and support.

How to access end-of-life help and support

  • Your CHD team and specialist nurses should be able to put you in touch with a palliative care team
  • The NHS Choices website has lots of information on end-of-life care and planning
  • Advance care planning ensures health and social care staff, as well as loved ones, are clear about the choices and wishes of the individual. This enables everyone in the care team to understand how the person wants their care to be managed and where they wish to die
  • Dying Matters helps people talk about dying, death and bereavement. As well as a wide range of support resources, Dying Matters also helps people to find both practical and emotional support
  • Find Me Help is the UK’s most comprehensive directory of services for people in the last years of life, their families, carers and friends
  • Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is working to make Scotland a place where there is more openness about death, dying and bereavement

Compassion in Dying is an organisation which supports you with the decision making process in regards to health care. They have information on advance decisions (living wills) plus lasting power of attorney. They also have a free information line.

Possible questions and topics to consider discussing with your medical team

  • What may you expect as your deterioration in health progresses? These could be physical changes and symptoms, as well as emotional changes
  • What might be the pro and cons of any treatment, medication or procedures?
  • Are there any treatments you don’t want? You can take out an advanced decision (living will) to refuse certain treatments in the future. This let’s your family, carers and medical team know your wishes, even if you are unable to communicate at a later time.
  • What different methods of pain relief are available?
  • What might be an estimate of your life expectancy?
  • Where would you like to die?
  • Where can you get physical, emotional and practical support?

Things to consider

Make an Advance Statement

This is a written statement that sets down your preferences, wishes, beliefs and values regarding your future care.

It helps anyone who might have to make decisions in your best interest if you have lost the capacity to do so yourself.

Make a Living Will

Also called an advanced decision, this is a statement to refuse certain kinds of treatment in the future.

An advance decision is legally binding, as long as it meets the necessary criteria for it to be considered valid and applicable.

Make a Lasting Power of Attorney

This lets you legally appoint people you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you don’t have the capacity to do so yourself.

There are two types of LPA. Oone for financial affairs, the other for care and welfare.

Leave a lasting legacy.

Including a gift to The Somerville Foundation will transform lives.

Gifts in Wills are vital to our work. They give us the funds we need to raise standards of care and invest in research to find effective treatments for congenital heart defects.

You don’t have to be wealthy to leave a gift in your Will. Small or large, it doesn’t matter. Every gift makes a difference.

To find out more, talk to your solicitor, contact us, or give us a call on 01473 252007.

Help us heal broken hearts even after you are gone.

Find out more about leaving a legacy in your Will.

How to include us in your will

To include The Somerville Foundation in an existing Will, talk to your solicitor about adding a ‘codicil’. This allows you to make a change without the hassle of writing a completely new document.

If you don’t yet have a Will, we can put you in touch with a solicitor to help you write your Will. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also provide useful information and advice and The Law Society has information on writing a Will and finding a solicitor.

Why leave a gift to The Somerville Foundation?

Because we need you to!

  • The income we have already received from gifts in Wills has enabled us to continue our work. A gift in your Will will help us do the same
  • Your gift will help us to fund new and improved treatments for congenital heart defects
  • Your gift allows you to give something back to the heart community
  • A gift in your Will to a registered charity like The Somerville Foundation is exempt from Inheritance Tax (40%). This could reduce the tax burden on your estate.

Your contribution – large or small – makes an incredible difference to people’s lives.

Find out more about leaving a lasting legacy.

With your help, we’ve helped fund new and improved treatments for congenital heart disease. we opened the UK’s first dedicated Congenital Heart Research Centre. we’ve organised receptions at the House of Lords and House of Commons, a film première, concerts, parachute jumps, marathon runs, annual sponsored walks and masquerade balls. we ensure that adult CHD patients enjoy access to every opportunity, are free from discrimination, and are fully supported throughout their lives. we’ve staged annual conferences, regional patient information days and workshops throughout the UK. we’ve published a range of leaflets for CHD patients on a wide-range of topics. we’ve launched a Freephone patient helpline to provide practical advice, a listening ear, and emotional reassurance at times of stress. we’ve created online networks where congenital heart patients can connect with each other. we successfully applied for a Comic Relief grant to help develop mental health support services. we’ve contributed to adult congenital heart disease nurse training days and taken part in various study days and conferences for medical and health professionals. we’ve established a benevolent fund for members who are in financial hardship. we’ve organised residential weekends and outward bound holidays for teenagers and adults, providing congenital heart patients with the opportunity to meet and gain support from each other.

Just think what else we could do if you donate, fundraise or volunteer for us.