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Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare
What is it?
A lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows you to choose people to act on your behalf (as Attorneys) and make decisions about your health and welfare when you are unable to make decisions about your health care and medical treatment, decisions about where you live and day-to-day decisions about your personal welfare such as diet, dress and daily routine.
Please note that a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare (“LPA”) is different to a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property & Affairs which relates simply to managing your property and financial affairs.
What happens if I don’t have a LPA for Health & Welfare?
If you lose your mental capacity, someone will have to make decisions about your health and welfare. These decisions may include, for example: where you live, what nursing or residential home you live in, the type and extent of the care you need and/or what type of medical treatment you receive.
People often assume that if they lose their mental capacity, their family or next of kin (e.g. spouse and/or children) will automatically have the right to make health and welfare decisions upon their behalf.
Unfortunately this is not the case
If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare and lose your mental capacity, it is likely that these decisions will be made upon your behalf by the Local Authority (“LA”). The LA have a duty to act in your “best interests” when making decisions upon your behalf but, if there is a dispute, say with family members, over what is considered to be in your “best interests”, the view of the LA is likely to prevail.
This is rather worrying and evidence suggests that disputes between the LA’s and families over the health, welfare and on-going care of elderly relatives and increasing - particularly as LA budgets are being cut.
Why should you set up an LPA for Health and Welfare now?
In order to ensure that your family (or the person who you chose) has the authority over your health & welfare decisions, it is important that a Lasting Power of Attorney for health & welfare is set up. This will avoid major problems at a later date and could prevent a potential dispute with the LA.
Finally, a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare also allows you to give authority to your Attorneys, if you so wished, to give or refuse consent to life sustaining treatment (i.e. life support)
For further advice, please contact James Rousell on 01384 371622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org