It was recently suggested by our family meeting independent chair, Deborah Dawson, that we should focus on the important topic of Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPA’s, at our next meeting. And, it was during said meeting that I, as Worcester care home Director, realised I needed to take a dose of my own medicine!
We hold them for the family of our residents to provide an unbiased forum for dialogue around many topics, as well as to assist in the overall process at our residential care home.
As our Worcester care home Director, providing such a forum is something that I am extremely passionate about.
We meet regularly and it gives family members a mutually supportive space with others who are going through, or who have been through, similar experiences.
Occasionally, we arrange to discuss a specific topic and get outside agencies in to come and provide additional advice and information.
In the family meeting in question, in my capacity as Worcester care home Director, and following on from the meeting chair’s recommendation, I had welcomed a local solicitor to give a talk.
The UK Government defines a LPA as:
“….a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf.
This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (you ‘lack mental capacity’).”
There are two types of LPA: ones which address issues of health & welfare and ones on property and financial affairs. ‘Donors’ can choose to make one type or both and conditions for making an LPA include that the ‘donor’ must be 18 years or older and have mental capacity when making it.
Essentially, an LPA is about making choices. So that if you were to lose mental capacity, your family would know your wishes.
We all had lots of questions and enjoyed the presentation…which is when it suddenly dawned on me that after impressing on others the importance of putting one in place – I realised I needed to!
I had no such instruction for my own affairs, which as a Worcester care home Director, was extremely remiss!
It was one of those “aha” moments. I had realised the importance of facing up to such responsibilities from another person’s point of view, but hadn’t taken my own medicine.
The nature of the work I am in – where decisions about a person’s affairs and wellbeing are not only being made at what can be an extremely difficult time because of a decline in health or mental capacity, but are also potentially contentious because of a lack of clarity on a person’s wishes regarding the matter, should have spurred me on to ensure I had my LPA in place.
I’m pleased to say that the matter is now in hand and that if I can pass on any word of advice it’s…:
Get your affairs in order!
If you would like to find out more about what care service we offer at our Worcestershire care home, whether for yourself or a loved one, please call us on 01905 420 459 where we will be only too happy to help answer any questions you may have.
You might also like to read our previous blog post about how we face up to the challenge of oral care at our care home.