Most adults have never considered where they want to be cared for

Research shows majority are confused about decision making and consent protocols

Just five per cent og people have documented what their place of care preferences are. Photograph: Getty Images

Just five per cent og people have documented what their place of care preferences are. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Eighty per cent of adults have not thought or talked about where they would like to be cared for if they became seriously ill or frail, according to new research launched by Safeguarding Ireland.

Just five per cent have documented what their place of care preferences are.

The research, which used Red C’s omnibus survey, found that 21 per cent of adults had personally considered where their preferred place of care would be if they were seriously ill or nearing death.

Just 17 per cent had discussed with a family member or other trusted person and only five per cent had documented their preference.

Around 70 per cent are confused about decision-making and consent protocols when caring for a seriously ill or frail older person.

Consideration of place of care was higher among older adults (65+), but still just 43 per cent had considered it, 35 per cent had discussed it and 9 per cent had documented their wishes.

When asked if a family member has authority to make decisions for someone who is frail but still has decision-making capacity without their consent, 30 per cent said that yes the family member does have this authority, 28 per cent did not know, and just 40 per cent recognised that the decision continues to lie fully with the person as long as they have decision-making capacity.

Patricia Rickard Clarke, chairperson of Safeguarding Ireland, said the findings showed “very clearly” the need for all adults, and particularly older adults with reducing capacity, to think about their wishes, talk with those they trust and document their choices.

“The message from Safeguarding Ireland is to plan ahead - turn your wishes into plans. Make known where they would like to be cared for,” she said.

“If in the future you did not have decision-making capacity where would you choose to live – at home with supports, with a family member or friend, in a nursing home or hospice, or remain in hospital?

“While it may not always be possible to deliver all of these wishes, by being known our preferences can be considered and respected. Planning ahead protects rights and respects choices. It is also recognised as the best step to safeguard against being treated badly, or experiencing adult abuse.”

The survey also asked respondents where their preferred place of care with 85 per cent stating they would be happy to be cared for at home with the necessary supports, 55 per cent in the home of a family member, 33 per cent in a hospice, 25 per cent in a nursing home and 19 per cent in a hospital.