LATEST: New research findings signpost importance of LPAs…
New research has revealed that doctors are being left to make important decisions about end-of-life care for more than ninety percent of UK adults, because only four percent have documented their wishes and preferences.
Sofia Tayton, head of the Care and Capacity Team and partner at Lodders Solicitors in Stratford upon Avon, says the findings of the YouGov research for Compassion in Dying, reinforce the importance of setting-up a Lasting Power of Attorney or Advance Decision, to clearly set-out the type and extent of end-of-life medical treatment and care that individuals want to receive.
“It is so important people document their wishes whilst they still have capacity,” says Sofia, “but the majority of us simply don’t fully understand exactly what will or could happen with medical care and intervention at the end-of-life; even less is known about the proactive steps people can in fact take to ensure their preferences and choices are recorded, so that they remain in control.
“Doctors and all medics do a fantastic job, but it should be the patient who decides what they do or do not want from the medical team around them.
“All too often, it is assumed that the decision on end-of-life care and treatment will automatically pass to the loved ones and next of kin around you, but this isn’t in fact the case, as they do not legally have the right.
“However, either an LPA or Advance Decision, can be used to address this, and be used to appoint close family and friends as having the authority for your health and welfare, so that they can make these decisions about the care of a loved one on their behalf.”
Setting up an LPA or Advance Decision is usually straightforward, says Sofia: “It’s important to talk to someone who understands the differences between Advance Decision and a Health & Welfare LPA to ensure the most appropriate choice is made.
“Equally important is to talk to someone who can support you in making the application and getting these important documents in place. It’s never too soon to plan for the future so that you can be sure that your wishes and interests will always be known and respected.”
Sofia specialises in Care Funding, Mental Capacity, Court of Protection and Powers of Attorney, and is currently an associate member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners and a full professional member of Solicitors for the Elderly. She is also joint regional co-ordinator of the Warwickshire and Worcestershire branch of the Solicitors for the Elderly and is appointed to the Office of the Public Guardian’s Panel of Deputies.
Lodders Solicitors LLP is an established and thriving law firm based in Stratford upon Avon, Henley in Arden and Cheltenham. The firm is recognised as a leading private client law firm, offering specialist advice to both private individuals and privately owned businesses, including its highly regarded work in the agricultural and real estate sectors. For more information, visit: www.lodders.co.uk.
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