Advice about how the pandemic affects setting up powers of attorney and advance decisions to refuse treatment.
‘My husband has dementia and we’ve decided to sort out powers of attorney and advance decisions to refuse treatment. Can we do this without going against advice about coronavirus?’
The pandemic has made many of us think about advance care planning – preparing for times in the future when we can’t make certain decisions for ourselves.
Speaking to your GP about your future health needs and treatment can give you a better idea of what you want to plan for.
Many GPs now offer appointments by phone or video call, so you can get their advice without going in to see them.
You don’t need a solicitor to make a power of attorney or advance decision, but if you’d like their advice, this could be by phone or video call too.
Signatures on documents
Making a power of attorney involves signing and witnessing documents, as does making an advance decision to refuse life-sustaining treatment. At present, signatures need to be witnessed by someone who’s there in person, which has been a challenge during lockdown.
The Office of the Public Guardian has produced guidance on making and registering an LPA during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you’re using a solicitor, ask them how they deal with this. If you’re doing it without a solicitor, think about what could work for your situation. For example, some people have signed documents with a witness looking through a window.
Maintain hygiene by making sure everyone’s hands are clean when handling documents and not sharing pens.
However you’re able to adapt the process, you still need to follow the precise rules on who signs and witnesses which bit of each document.
Our LPA digital assistance service can help people with dementia in England and Wales to set up powers of attorney – call 0333 150 3456 for details.
Making documents count
Powers of attorney usually need to be registered before they can be used, and letting people know about advance care plans makes them more effective.
For example, giving a copy of an advance decision to your GP means it can be lodged on your medical records.
If you’ve set up powers of attorney or advance decisions, it’s important not to let the pandemic stop you from getting them registered and lodged on medical or care records.
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