New figures released by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) revealed there were 1,729 investigations into misuse last year.
Davina Hehir, Director of Policy at Compassion in Dying, a national charity that helps people prepare for the end of life, said:
“An LPA for Health and Welfare is an important tool to enable someone’s wishes to be followed if they become unable to make or communicate decisions about their healthcare. Anyone who is concerned about either the attorney(s) they have appointed for themselves, or the attorney(s) a loved one has appointed should get in touch with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) on 0300 234 0300.
“When making an LPA it’s important that the person you appoint to act as your attorney knows your wishes, and you trust them and feel confident that they would act in your best interests when a decision needed to be made. If you have been appointed as an attorney and are unclear on your rights and responsibilities, we can provide information and support for free on 0800 999 2434 or on our website.
“When it comes to planning ahead for future treatment and care you can also make an Advance Decision, also known as a Living Will, in addition to or instead of an LPA. This allows you to refuse medical treatments in certain situations, should you later become unable to make or communicate these decisions for yourself. Rather than leaving these choices up to doctors or family members who may disagree over what you would have wanted, making an Advance Decision or LPA means that you can remain in control of future decisions about your care and treatment and feel reassured that your wishes will be known and followed. Our new booklet Planning Ahead: Your treatment and care is a great place to start and further specialist information and support is available on our Information Line (0800 999 2434) and online.”
Notes to editor
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): a legally-binding document which allows you to give someone you trust the legal power to make decisions on your behalf in case you later become unable to make decisions for yourself. An LPA for Health and Welfare enables a trusted person(s) to make decisions about anything to do with your health and personal welfare, including medical treatment, where you’re cared for, the type of care you receive, day-to-day things like your diet, how you dress and your daily routine. You can list any instructions that your attorney must follow, or any preferences that you’d like them to take into account when making decisions on your behalf. You can also choose whether or not you want your attorney to be able to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment. If you choose not to, then all decisions about life-sustaining treatment will be made by your healthcare team, unless you’ve made an Advance Decision. Any decision your attorney makes must be made in your best interests.
Advance Decision: also known as a Living Will, or an Advance Directive in Scotland. It is a legal way of recording your wish to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment in certain circumstances, to be followed if you lose capacity to make or communicate decisions about your treatment or care in future through injury or illness. There is no standard Advance Decision format, rather there are just requirements any Advance Decision must meet to be valid. If it does so it must be legally respected by a doctor. Compassion in Dying is the UK’s leading provider of free Advance Decisions.
Compassion in Dying: We can help you prepare for the end of life. How to talk about it, plan for it, and record your wishes. We help people through our free information line, publications and resources, and through our work with diverse communities. We specialise in supporting people to make Advance Decisions (‘Living Wills’) and to talk about their goals and priorities when living with a life-changing illness. Our free MyDecisions website helps people to record their wishes for care in a legally binding way.
Have any questions? Talk to us.
0800 999 2434