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Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney

A health and welfare lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows attorneys to make decisions about medical care, however there may still be some medical decisions which remain outside of your remit. You may find that the health and welfare power of attorney includes very little detail, or it may go into a great deal of detail about the type of decisions your loved one was happy to grant you authority over. It is important that a decision does not flout any existing law.

What decisions does a health and welfare attorney typically make? Most commonly, a health and welfare attorney can make any decision about the care of the person for whom they have been appointed. This may include specific medical treatment, the type of care the person should receive, where and how their care should take place, the person’s daily routine and their diet, and other day-to-day decisions. Such guidance could either direct you to make certain decisions or prevent you from making certain decisions. For example, some people may ask to be cared for in their own home, while some people may wish to refuse a blood transfusion. If you are an attorney for someone whose health and welfare LPA contains guidance or instructions, you should obtain legal advice prior to making any decisions on that person’s behalf to ensure that you are not overstepping your authority, which could see you removed as an attorney by the Court of Protection.

When making a health and welfare LPA, the person doing so must choose whether to allow their attorney to consent to or refuse life sustaining treatment. This does not document their own decision about whether life sustaining treatment should take place, but rather who should make that decision if it becomes necessary:

  • their attorney – if they have opted for you to make the decision, hopefully they discussed their own preferences with you, but it will be for you to decide what is for the best; or

  • medical staff – if they have not authorised you to make decisions about life sustaining treatment, then this will be a decision for the medical professionals involved in your loved one’s care.

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What a beautiful sunny September day! The last thing on your mind is probably Lasting Power of Attorney or lpas as they are sometimes known as, Better things to do on a great day like this, so boring

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