What are the rights of a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) specifically for health and welfare grants the person nominated (referred to as the attorney) the legal power to execute decisions on behalf of someone (known as the donor) when they’re no longer able to make decisions of their own.
Making care and treatment choices for another
The attorney has the right to make decisions that affect the donor’s personal health and welfare. This may include decisions regarding medical treatment, such as the kind of care they’ll be receiving or where this care takes place. It may also cover such areas as daily routine and diet and what they wear.
However, on the subject of refusing or consenting to treatment designed to be life-sustaining, the attorney must have permission to make such choices, given when the LPA was created. This might include specific instructions set out in advance by the donor.
Reasons why medical professionals may overturn attorney decisions
If the attorney does not fully possess the authority to make life and death decisions for a donor regarding treatment, the doctor may not follow such decisions. The attorney must always make all decisions in the best interests of the donor. If a doctor believes the decisions of an attorney don’t indicate this, they may refuse to adhere to them.
Advance Decision (Living Will)
The right of an LPA can also be overridden by an Advanced Decision. If the donor sets out a Living Will, following the appointment of an attorney, it will take precedence over the decisions entrusted to the attorney.