As England endures another lockdown to battle the Coronavirus pandemic, Holmes & Hills Solicitors continue to receive requests for advice from concerned families about the rights of their loved ones who live in care homes.
Given the majority of people living in care homes are often vulnerable due to their age or likelihood of a pre-existing medical condition, some relatives have found themselves wanting to remove their loved ones from a care home environment, be it temporarily or permanently. However, families are often unaware that they have no legal right to do so. Having the authority to make health and welfare decisions under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney will assist.
National newspapers and social media have highlighted the plight of families wishing to remove loved ones from care homes. Many of the stories are heart-breaking. Families are naturally concerned about the impact of the virus:
Families are deeply concerned about the impact of such isolation, fear their loved one will feel forgotten and for those with dementia, fear they will forget their family without the benefit of regular contact.
For some families, their circumstances are such that they feel better placed to care for their loved ones at home. They have been dismayed to find they have no authority to do so.
Our lives have changed considerably during the course of the last year and continue to do so. The pandemic should be a lesson to us all to ensure we have the appropriate safeguards in place to protect ourselves. Creating a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney means we decide who to authorise to make decisions on our behalf, including where we live, if we cannot make those decisions ourselves. We can choose to give this authority to the people we love and trust and who love us and know what is important to us.
Aside from an expensive application to the Court of Protection, having the authority to make decisions under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones when issues arise relating to health and welfare.
A Lasting Power of Attorney should be created in advance, whilst there is no doubt of you understanding its terms and impact on you. You and your loved ones should also create Finance and Property Lasting Powers of Attorney which enables you to appoint the most appropriate people to look after your money and property if you feel unable, or you are unable, to do so yourself. Unfortunately, relatives all too often find themselves in the position where they cannot make key decisions for their loved ones. Lasting Powers of Attorney are fundamental in enabling families to make the right decisions for their relatives at the right time.