As I write this I am reliably informed that there are 31 days, 11 hours, 15 minutes and 56 seconds till Christmas and counting. Once again I am left reflecting on my resolution last year to not leave my Christmas planning until the month before but to have thought well ahead throughout the year, making lists of thoughtful gifts as they are mentioned and wrapping them before the kids find them hidden in the back of the wardrobe. And once again, here I am panicking that I cannot get this year’s must-have gift as I’ve left it too late and wondering where the time has gone from all my good intentions last year.

Making plans in advance really does have a lot of benefits. You can think about what it is you want, have time to think about all of the other options, discuss with those close to you and make sure others know what it is you want. And that doesn’t just apply to Christmas presents. We need to think about making plans in lots of areas of our lives including our healthcare. Many of us will have ideas of what we would and wouldn’t want to happen to us as our health changes and taking the time to sit down and make these thoughts known can be helpful and let others know what it is you want. If you have a long term health condition you can also make plans with your doctor or nurse about how to manage your condition if it should get worse and who to contact if things are changing. You might like to provide contact details of those you would want involved in any decisions and any arrangements you might need to make for loved ones you care for.

In Bury and across Greater Manchester we are encouraging patients with long term or complex conditions to speak to their GP about making a personal care plan that you can keep at home to use if needed. This is a paper document that lists important information about you, decisions you have made and advice on things to do if your condition changes. You can also talk to them about other ways we can share your information with other health care providers like the out of hours doctors, A&E and hospitals. If you think this might apply to you, have a chat with your GP or nurse next time you are in and see if this is something that would be helpful for you.

I’m off now to trawl the internet to see if anyone has got that toy in. And by the way, there’s only 31 days, 11 hours, 2 minutes and 13 seconds now till Christmas…

Talking about it won’t make it happen… | NHS Bury CCG’s blog

Dr. Debbie Hartley
GP and Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care at NHS Bury CCG