What is a neuro-degenerative disease
Neuro-degenerative diseases include Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease among others.
When an Advance Decision would apply
There are two different circumstances when patients with neuro-degenerative disease lose the ability to make their own decisions about their health and a validly made Advance Decision would apply.
The first is due to an acute illness of which respiratory failure is the common cause. Recovery will depend on the underlying state of health and general nutrition as well as the severity of the respiratory failure and any additional complication.
The second is in the late stages of a neuro-degenerative disease when, due the progressive nature of the illness, there may come a time close to the end of your life when you lose the ability to make decisions. This is because you are too weak or you lose the ability to communicate your wishes, or your level of consciousness deteriorates so far that you are either in coma or a minimally conscious state. Since progressive weakness is common:
- You may suffer from breathing difficulties for which you may require assisted breathing.
- You may develop swallowing difficulties such that you may require artificial feeding.
- You might develop a chest infection due to a combination of weakness in your breathing plus saliva or fluid in the lungs caused by swallowing difficulties.