Make It Your Decision
Unfortunately, it is a misconception that “next of kin” have the say as to what treatment and care their loved ones receive. If a legal document such as an Advanced Decision or Lasting Power of Attorney is not put in place, whilst you are able to, then the decision maker in medical decisions will be a Doctor and in any welfare or care situation it will be the Local Authority.
It is so important that your wishes and views are recorded legally to avoid the situation of a decision being made for you that you may not have wanted yourself, if you were able to express your beliefs. Whilst your family do have a view and an opinion, they are not legally the decision maker, unless you direct that they are in legal documents. This may then cause problems with disagreements, as to decisions that are being made about you and could ultimately cause costly legal applications to The Court of Protection for a Judge to make the final decision.
This was recently seen in the case of PC Briggs where the Doctors and family were not in agreement with a decision to withdraw life sustaining treatment.
Karon Walton, Head of the Elderly and Vulnerable Client Unit at Tollers says: “It is imperative that you have these discussions early with your family and put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney or Advance Decision, therefore your wishes are reflected and followed. If another person has to make a decision about you on your behalf they have the information to be able to make the decision in your best interests.”
Compassion in Dying’s campaign details can be found at Make it your decision.