What this post is about
In our last post we talked about Advanced Decisions. These are documents that you can make now, to outline treatment that you do not want in the future, if there comes a time when you are mentally incapable of making such decisions.
In this post we are going to talk about Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), for health and welfare. If the time comes when you are no longer able to make your own health and welfare decisions, having set up an LPA for Health and Welfare can make life easier. An LPA for health and welfare is different to an Advance Decision. Under an LPA you appoint others, whom you trust, to make treatment and other welfare decisions for you, when you can’t. Under an Advance Decision, you yourself make a treatment decision now, to apply in the future.
This post sets out a guide to help you take steps to ensure that your wishes are followed if you are no longer able to make your own health and welfare decisions. We hope you find the information in this post helps you to decide what is right for you.
This post applies to the law in England and Wales only. There are different rules in Scotland and Ireland.
As with our last post, you will see the term ‘mental capacity’ throughout this article. Just so you understand, having mental capacity means you can make your own decisions and understand the implications of them.
No one can make an LPA unless they have mental capacity to do so. For this reason, it is important that you consider making an LPA whilst you are well, otherwise it can be too late.
If there comes a time when you cannot make a health and welfare decision because you have lost mental capacity, and you haven’t created an LPA, the Court of Protection may need to become involved. This can be long winded and expensive, so it is far better for you to choose someone you trust and appoint them in an LPA to deal with the things you choose.
The different types of LPA
There are two types of LPA, one for health and welfare, and one for financial decisions. In this post we are focusing on LPA for health and welfare.
Please note that an LPA for health and welfare can only be used if it has been registered with the Court, (called the Office of the Public Guardian), and you have lost mental capacity.
Decisions that can be made under an LPA for health and welfare
If you make an LPA for health and welfare, and appoint people to act for you, (attorneys), those attorneys can make decisions about things like:
- where you should live
- your medical care
- what you should eat
- who you should have contact with
- what kind of social activities you should take part in
- You can also give your attorneys permission to make decisions about life- sustaining treatment. Life sustaining treatment is any treatment needed to keep you alive and includes mechanical ventilation, antibiotics and CPR
Good to know
- You can appoint 1 Attorney or a maximum of 4. If you have more than 1 Attorney you must decide how they should act, i.e. jointly or jointly and severally. The latter is more flexible, but it’s your choice…
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