Lasting Power of Attorney

If in the future you can’t make a decision for yourself, it is common to involve those closest to you in deciding how you are cared for.

This is a lot easier if you have talked about your wishes beforehand. You can formalise this by appointing a ‘power of attorney’ which gives the legal responsibility for decisions about your health and welfare to a named person (or persons) of your choosing. You can apply for this via the Office of the Public Guardian

If you are seeking to support a child or person with learning difficulties, take a look at Mencap’s Guide to Guardianship

Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment

We all have a right to refuse medical treatments provided we have full mental capacity.

There is a legal document that allows you to refuse any medical treatment, even if doing that puts your life at risk. By making an Advanced Decision (known as a living will), if there comes a time in your life when you lack the capacity to make decisions, your health care team will know what treatment you don’t want.

We recommend you work with your doctor or specialist nurse to write your Advanced Decision because it needs to be written in a specific way, stating ‘even if this puts my life at risk’. The document needs to be signed in front of a witness for it to be valid.

If you do have an Advanced Decision, it is advisable to talk about this with your family and any care professional who might be looking after you. They will ask to see a copy of it.

The Compassion in Dying website provides further information resources and has a free phone number for you to call.

Useful resources:

An Advanced Decision to Refuse Treatment  or ‘living will’.

Making and implementing Advance Decisions: A toolkit for Healthcare professionals

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