How to plan for your future care

As time passes it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore some of the less pleasant aspects of growing older. We may experience first hand the effects of a relative or close friend who suffers with their health in later life or from a life changing disability. We also have exposure to media coverage of issues as diverse as the ‘right to die cases’ as brought recently by Tony Nicklinson and the exposures of substandard care in our Nursing Homes.

These daily reminders leave many of us to question what steps we can take to make life easier for ourselves and our loved ones when faced with these challenges.

A simple first step is to make known in advance to those around you what your wishes are should the worst happen. The NHS (in conjunction with Dying Matters and the University of Nottingham) have produced a guide entitled Planning For Your Future Care. The guide offers helpful and sensitive advice to those that are already facing difficult decisions about their care or simply want to plan for the future.

One of the key suggestions of the guide is to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA). A properly drafted LPA allows you to appoint persons to make decisions about your personal health and welfare in the event that you are not able to make them yourself. These types of decisions vary from everyday matters such as diet, dress and daily routine to the longer term provisions such as where you are to live and the care arrangements that are to be put in place for you. Most importantly you will be required to decide whether or not your Attorneys are to have the authority to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.

An LPA is a powerful legal document which requires a great deal of thought before being entered into. It is always best to seek expert guidance and advise before entering into such an arrangement. However, when properly drafted, an LPA is an invaluable tool to be used when making plans for your future care.

by Kieren Cross from the Wisbech office