Let’s Plan Ahead (LPA) is a multi-agency initiative hosted by the Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board, which aims to raise awareness and drive the uptake of Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
A common belief is that the person nominated as our ‘next of kin’ can make decisions for us if we are unable to make them for ourselves. However, in law ‘next of kin’ has no legal standing and such decisions cannot be made by our friends or family unless we have put the appropriate legal arrangements in place.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare is a legal document which can be made to cover a loss of mental capacity in relation to decisions about health and welfare on a temporary or permanent basis.
Such arrangements are often considered as something we would do when we are older in case we live with a condition such as dementia. However, people of all ages can lose the mental capacity to make such decisions on a temporary or permanent basis due to illness or accident. It is important to plan ahead and set up a Lasting Power of Attorney now to enable a person of your choosing to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity to make these decisions for yourself. However, the LPA for Health and Welfare is only valid if it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which is part of the Ministry of Justice Department.
A range of resources are available on the Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board website which explain the process, including two short films and supporting leaflets, wallet cards and posters.
We encourage all residents of Hampshire to visit the site and consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare. Once you have these arrangements in place you can rest assured that somebody you know and trust, who knows your wishes, will be able to make decisions in your best interests.