Q: If I set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare, will my Attorney have the authority to go against medical advice, or fight a decision? For example, in the case of life sustaining treatment such as a blood transfusion - which is against my religious beliefs. I also worry that with the NHS being so strapped for cash, if I was incapacitated a decision to refuse me certain treatments may be made for the ‘wrong’ reasons. Or what if my incapacity was only temporary?
A: Whilst a Health and Welfare LPA grants your attorney the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf, when you are unable to make those decisions yourself, your attorney will, at all times, be bound by the Mental Health Act 2005, which requires them to act in your best interests.
If you have specific concerns about certain aspects concerning your medical care you should ensure they are written into your Health and Welfare LPA. This is important because if, for example, your wish not to have a blood transfusion has not been written into your LPA, even if your Attorney states at the time that this is your belief, medical staff looking after you may decide that it would not be in your best interests to deprive you of a blood transfusion if it could save your life.
Your question highlights the importance of seeking proper legal advice before setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, to ensure your appointed attorney can make every decision about your care in accordance with your wishes. This may include specific medical treatment, the type of care you wish to receive, and where and how your care should take place, for example in your own home or in a care home. You can even specify your requirements in respect of diet if, for example you wished to follow a vegan diet, as well as requirements concerning other day-to-day decisions.
This question has been answered by Jessica Wright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.
Phone: 01978 291456
Phone: 01978 860313
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