WHO would speak up for you, if you could no longer speak for yourself?

During Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday, Mountbatten has urged people to think about their future care and treatment should they become seriously ill.

The Isle of Wight charity said no-one was immune from illness, or accidents, yet few people had any plan in place.

Mountbatten, which runs the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, has produced a booklet — the Mountbatten Advance Care Plan — which can be filled in by anyone, of any age, whether in good health or not, to record their wishes and preferences.

Mountbatten Nurse Jane Garner said: "Planning is a normal part of life, but planning ahead for illness and dying might seem a very difficult topic to think about. Some people may be resistant to the idea of writing down their wishes, finding it is too upsetting or morbid.

"However, planning ahead in this way can be very positive and empowering — if you were to become very ill, you would continue to influence the care you receive and maybe spare those closest to you from having to guess what you would have wanted, at a time likely to be difficult and worrying for them."

Chief executive Nigel Hartley said: "I know from my own experience of supporting dying people how distraught families can become when they realise they don’t know what their loved one would have wanted before they become ill or die.

"Our mission is to make sure no-one goes through the pain of having to hope they have got things right, for example whether they would have wanted to be cremated or buried.

"We know people who have talked about these things, and made plans together with their family, have a much better experience when they come to die.

"I would urge anyone to pick up this booklet and use it as a starting point to open up a conversation with your loved ones.

"Talking about death won’t make it happen, and once you have completed the booklet, you can relax in the knowledge you have made your wishes known."

The booklet will be available at the John Cheverton Centre, Newport, and Ventnor Mountbatten shop later this week, and at the charity's other shops from next month. It is also available online at www.mountbatten.org.uk/page/advance-care-planning.html

For further information, call 529511 and ask to speak to Jane Garner.