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Coronavirus: making decisions about treatment

New information on how to make your wishes known if you get coronavirus.

What decisions can my attorney make under Welfare Power of Attorney?

In a Welfare Power of Attorney (WPA), you can give your attorney power to make decisions about anything to do with your health and personal welfare but you must specify these powers in your WPA.

What types of decisions can I include in my Welfare Power of Attorney?

Types of powers you could include are:

  • what medical treatment you should or shouldn’t have
  • where you are cared for and the type of care you receive
  • what you eat
  • how you dress
  • what activities you take part in

It’s important to consider all of the decisions you might want your attorney to make if you lack capacity.

You should also make sure that the powers are written in a clear and understandable way. Your attorney won’t be able to make a decision on your behalf unless that type of power is clearly specified in your WPA document. It’s therefore very important that the powers you want to give are specific, well explained and not open to interpretation.

Refusing medical treatment

If your attorney decides that refusing a treatment would benefit you but the doctor disagrees, the doctor can challenge this decision. In this situation the Mental Welfare Commission will ask an independent doctor to give a second opinion. The decision made by the independent doctor is final, unless this decision is challenged and the case will then go to court.