Care homes are increasingly asking potential residents of their homes to ensure that the resident has Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) in place. We have had a number of cases recently where clients have asked us to assist with this due to requests from the care home management team. But why?
LPAs are legal documents which allow a person to appoint another person or a number of people to act on their behalf in relation to either (or both) their financial affairs or their health and welfare, usually when the donor of the power is finding it difficult to, or cannot, deal with these matters themselves.
Putting in place an LPA is a valuable arrangement, particularly for care home providers. If a potential resident has arranged a legal appointment of another person, the care home can deal with that appointed person, should their resident no longer be able to make decisions about their finances or their own welfare issues. This means that delays are avoided when immediate decisions need to be made and access to funding is required.
Without a Property & Financial Affairs LPA, the care home could be caught in ‘financial limbo’ whilst the resident’s family applies to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage the resident’s financial affairs. If the family is unable to pay the fees in the meantime, the care home will be placed in a difficult situation.
Without a Health & Welfare LPA, the care home may find that no-one can make decisions about the resident’s care on a day to day basis, such as whether they should visit the dentist or have their flu jab, or more major decisions about hospital care, treatment and operations. As the care homes job is to provide care, they have to be sure those making decisions for the resident are legally authorised to do so.
With the rise in dementia-based illnesses (some 850,000 have a dementia diagnosis in the UK), care homes are naturally worrying about making sure they do the right thing by their potential and existing residents. As it can take several months to put an LPA in place, this is why they are encouraging those with capacity to make LPAs before moving into a care home. It can save stress and worry for the resident, and the care home, later.
If you want to discuss making a lasting power of attorney, please contact Joanna Parkin or Rebecca Head on 01543 440308.