What is covered in a health and welfare power of attorney?
There are two types of Power of Attorney that you can have put in place to make sure that should you lose capacity and be unable to make decisions for yourself, there is someone who can make those decisions for you. These are Property and Financial Affairs and Health and Welfare.
There are a number of reasons as to why someone may temporarily or permanently be unable to make decisions for themselves or ‘lack capacity’. These include mental health conditions, dementia, having suffered a stroke or a brain injury. An assessment of the individual takes place to prove that they lack capacity. Under the Mental Capacity Act a person is deemed to have capacity and is able to make decisions for themselves until this proven to not be the case. When you need someone to make these decisions for you a Power of Attorney is actioned and your chosen individual will take over making the decisions for you. You should consult with a professional Power of Attorney Cheltenham company such as beesandco.co.uk/our-services/wills-cheltenham/ to ensure that these are completed and filed legally for you.
Under a Health and Welfare LPA the attorney (chosen individual) can make decisions relating to your medical treatment, the place and manor in which you are cared for, your day to day routine as to how you are fed, dressed and bathed. You can opt to give your attorney the right to make decisions relating to life-sustaining treatment and resuscitation or you can leave this up to the medical professional, or your third choice is to make an Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment.
When choosing your attorney you need to ensure that this individual is 18 years or over and be someone that you trust. This is where the individual is usually a member of your family or a close friend. You need to be able to trust that this individual or individuals will act in your best interests and will make decisions based on how they think you would have made the decisions yourself. They also need to be able to think clearly and remain calm in difficult situations. It is important to ensure that you discuss your life-sustaining treatment wishes with your appointed attorney or attorneys so that they are aware of any wishes that you have.
You can choose to have one person act as your attorney or a couple. If you choose a couple of people to act as your attorney you need to decide whether they will be making decisions jointly and severally or just jointly. This means they either have to agree on the decisions that they make or they will be able to act independently of one another.