Families across Lanarkshire are being urged to arrange Power of Attorney (PoA) over loved ones in a bid to protect their wishes in the event of serious illness or accident.
The plea has come as health and social care partners support national PoA day held on September 29.
In the event of an illness or accident, PoA is a legal document allowing a nominated person of authority to act or make decisions on a family member’s behalf.
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This happens when a person loses the capacity to make their own decisions following an incident which leaves them unable to look after their financial or personal affairs.
Soumen Sengupta, Chief Officer of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “No one wants to be left in limbo if they suddenly find themselves incapacitated – through other serious illness or accident.
“Where a loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves – often due to a dementia diagnosis, mental health issue or injury – distressed families and partners often discover they have no automatic legal rights to direct that person’s medical welfare or financial affairs.
“I would therefore urge everyone in Lanarkshire who is eligible to prepare a PoA. We know that establishing a PoA can relieve a lot of stress and heartache for families in what are already difficult situations.”
Ross McGuffie, Chief Officer, Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire added: “The campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about establishing a PoA. It’s vital that if the person takes ill and is unable to make decisions then someone can step in.
“Having a PoA in place really can make a difference and can ensure that people’s wishes are carried out quickly without prolonged legal negotiations.
“If a loved one is in hospital and there is no PoA this can delay the patient’s discharge and have them remain in hospital longer than necessary.
“PoA isn’t just for the elderly or infirm – it’s for everyone. It doesn’t mean giving away your power or legal rights nor does it replace your will. It’s a straightforward document to safeguard your own wishes during your lifetime.”
More details are available at www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk
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