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A person giving a Lasting Power of Attorney (the donor) can confer on an Attorney or Attorney’s (the donee(s)) authoirty to make decisions about the donor’s personal welfare or specified matters concerning the donor’s personal welfare.
The term ‘personal welfare’ is not defined in the governing statute but it is made clear that authority to make decisons about the donor’s personal welfare extends to giving or refusing consent to the carrying out or continuation of a treatment by a person providing health care. This type of Lasting Power of Attorney therefore covers both welfare and healthcare decisions. In certain circumstances, the attorney’s authority may even extend to giving or refusing consent to life -sustaining treatment.
The donor must decide whether or not to give his or her attorney authory to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment. Life-sustaining treatment is defined as treatment, in the view of the person providing health care, is necessary to sustain life. It is not yet clear what is included by this definition other than it does not grant the attorney authority to demand a particular medical treatment nor does it authorise euthenasia. As with all decisions an attorney msut act in the donor’s best interests when making decisons about life-sustaining treatment.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare made after an advance decision to refuse medical treatment will take precedence over any refusal of consent in that advance decision
An attorney may apply to the Court of Protection for the exercise of any of the court’s powers without seeking prior permission.
Carers and health professionals or any other person performing acts in connection with the perosnal and health care or treatment of a person lacking capacity will not be protected from legal liability if their actions conflict with the decision of an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
The instrument granting the power of attorney must be in the prescribed form to be valid.
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