Kim Shamash

Taking Control


A practical guide and tool for advance care planning

This booklet guides people who are approaching middle age and later life through the process of making an advance care decision or an advance care plan.



Many people faced with long-term or degenerative health conditions find that they do not know how to ask the important questions or make the decisions about the care or treatment options they are given by professionals. Consequently, they either receive treatment they do not want or they cannot get the care they would like to have.

Advance care decisions and advance care planning enable people to record information about the care or treatment they would like to receive in the future. They can help you make sure people know about your wishes by talking about them. By writing your advance statement down, you can help to make things clear to your family, carers, health care professionals and anybody else involved in your care. An advance care statement can cover any aspect of your future health or social care. This could include how you want any religious or spiritual beliefs to be reflected in your care, how you like to do things, for example if you prefer a shower instead of a bath, or if you like to sleep with the light on, or concerns about practical issues, for example who will look after your dog if you become ill.

Taking Control: A practical guide and tool for advance care planning provides a brief description of the legal framework for health care decision making, gives guidance on how to ask for information to help with care decisions, and outlines a suggested framework for the documentation of advanced care planning.


This booklet will be of use to anyone who wants to put in place plans for their future health care, such as people planning for their retirement, older people, those with terminal illnesses and approaching the end of their life, carers and family. It may be that they are facing the prospect of future ill health due to a long-term health condition, they may lead a particularly risky lifestyle, or they may simply want to prepare for their end of life care plan.


ISBN: 9781909810976
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media
Publication: 22 July 2014
Content: Section 1: The law and decision making
Section 2: Your approach to making decisions
Section 3: Advance care planning
Section 4: Writing an advance care plan
Useful websites
CD-rom (rewritable so you can save your plan).


Kim Shamash recently retired from clinical practice after more than 35 years training and working for the NHS. During her time as a consultant psychiatrist she had extensive experience of working with older people going through a range of mental health problems including dementia.

Always working in multidisciplinary teams, she saw people and their families in their own homes, in care homes and in hospital. She found that many older people have complex combinations of mental and physical health problems, which make decision making confusing and difficult, especially if they are in hospital.

In recent years Kim has become passionate about enabling patients to make better informed choices about their care and to feel more in control of their decision making. Her personal experiences and that of family and friends are what prompted her to think about writing a guide for a younger group of people who are reflecting on how their own wishes can be expressed as a result of seeing older relatives going through the health care system.

Kim Tweets from @KimShamash and she blogs passionately with a reflective view about how working in the NHS has shaped her views as she moves closer to a time when she will need to use health and social care services herself.


  1. Diana Iwi

    Taking Control is an easily read manual, taking the reader through the process of decision making and management of their advance care plan for health and welfare, so as to facilitate and personalise their care if they lose capacity. It is in a style appropriate for use by the general public. It follows a logical order and the wide-ranging concepts are clearly explained throughout. Links are given to relevant official sites, which taken together will provide all the information that may be needed. The attached CD-rom provides an easy to use template for recording and storing decisions and personal preferences for the future. This booklet is should prove an invaluable guide to anyone who wants their own active management of their future care needs and I would have no hesitation in recommending it. D. I.

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