The Advance Decision is a great way in which we as individuals can plan ahead to ensure our wishes are known by those around us if we were ever to lose capacity.
For some people the idea of completing an Advance Decision can be very daunting, the idea of making decisions about their future treatment, when they are unsure of what the future may bring can be very confusing.
I recently met a lady who explained this exact issue. For her completing the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney was the better option.
She felt more comfortable choosing someone she trusted to make decisions on her behalf if she was ever to lose capacity. She felt by completing an LPA she was still in control of the decision she wanted to make and by enlisting her daughter who knew her wishes well as her attorney she would have peace of mind that eventually when decisions had to be made on her behalf her daughter would be well informed.
The lady also completed an Advance Statement as she wanted those around her to know what was important to her when decisions were to be made in her best interests. She explained to me that she had always worn a red nightie to bed and would still like be dressed this way if she did ever lose capacity.
The Advance Statement is a fantastic way to ensure others know your likes and dislikes when you are no longer able to communicate for yourself.
The Lasting Power of Attorney is another great tool that allows you to plan ahead. When choosing an attorney to act on your behalf it is important to think carefully about who you would like and if you do choose more than one person it is important to think about how they would get along and how they would make decisions on your behalf.
Talking about your wishes with your attorneys is essential. You may have strong ideas about whether you want to remain in your own home, perhaps with help and support from social services or whether you would like to move into residential housing and what kind of care home would be right for you. Ideas around your day-to-day issues like your diet, dress, or daily routine and deciding who may have contact with you is also something you can discuss with you attorneys. It is important to talk about these issues even though they can be very upsetting because in this way the attorneys are well prepared if they did ever have to act on your behalf.
If you lose the ability to make or communicate decisions and you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney, your family of friends will have to apply to the Court of Protection. The court can either make decisions on your behalf or appoint someone else (a deputy) to do so. This can be expensive and time consuming so it’s best to get a Lasting Power of Attorney in place while you still can.
Contact your local My Life, My Decision project for further information about Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney’s and further ways in which you can plan ahead.