Recent months have been a real challenge for those families with relatives in care homes, particularly where the relative has dementia and time with them is very precious. For some, the restrictions on visiting have simply become unbearable.
You may have seen the news last month in which a lady was arrested for removing her 97-year-old mother from a care home in advance of the second lockdown. Ms Angeli, a retired 73-year-old nurse said that she did this as a response to the limits on face-to-face contact with her mother since March and that she could now care for her mother at home.
Humberside Police were alerted to Ms Angeli’s actions following reports of an assault. She was initially arrested and her mother was returned to the care home by the police in accordance with their legal duty. Ms Angeli was later released without further action.
Ms Angeli thought that because they had a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place that she had the right to remove her. Unfortunately, however, they only had a Finances LPA in place, allowing them to deal only with the mother’s finances and not a Health & Welfare LPA, which is required to make decisions regarding her health and wellbeing. In this scenario, the relevant decisions were entirely in the hands of medical and social services professionals who had to act in the best interests of her mother, which at the time was to put her back into the home.
Appointing an Attorney covering health and welfare permits the person(s) chosen to make decisions about that individual’s personal healthcare and welfare, should they lose the capacity to do so themselves. This includes decisions regarding consent to, or refusal of, life-sustaining treatment, and living and contact arrangements. Had her mother put this in place, Ms Angeli would have had more say on the care arrangements for her mum.
This is a real life example of why we always advise our clients to take out both types of LPAs and register them straight away so that they are ready for use when they are required. Registration is currently taking around 10 weeks, so we advise to start the process sooner rather than later. If you require any advice or guidance on this please do get in touch with our team.