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Medical Treatment – who decides? Putting you in control

By assembling appropriate legal documentation we can ensure that in the event of your losing capacity in the future that your wishes in respect of your medical care and treatment are preserved and respected.

It is a sad fact that dementia for example is the strongest cause of people having to enter into residential care when aged over 65. Whilst all of us hope that we will never need to be faced with such an eventuality either for ourselves or our families the reality is that one cannot ignore the potentially devastating consequences of a loss of capacity in this way.

So far as medical treatment is concerned by using a combination of Lasting Powers of Attorney and advanced directives (Living Wills) we can set up a set of requirements that you wish to have honoured.

This can include more general issues relating to your day to day medical care such as the prescription of medication that has not been tested on animals, through to the ultimate dearest decision concerning the refusal of medical treatment in certain circumstances.

Some people for example have religious objections to certain types of treatment being performed upon them and this can be properly documented and respected within the documentation.

Additionally some people have a very strong desire not to be kept alive artificially and again this can be properly documented.

We can also build in very valuable guidance to your attorneys (who will ultimately be making the decisions) but they can be led in a particular direction by you. This can be very helpful on decisions for example such as the point at which you might need to give up residing in your own home in favour of moving into a nursing home. For many people the desire to delay this decision as long as possible is paramount in their minds as part of their wish to retain independence and control. One can therefore take comfort in the fact that all of these directions and wishes can be encapsulated in a document which will set out your wishes very clearly to those who then have to follow or be guided by them.

One extremely valuable and relatively recent introduction is the ability to give a firm and specific direction as to whether you refuse to accept life sustaining treatment. We can all imagine the anguish that a family might endure in having to make decisions as to whether or not a loved one should be given life sustaining treatment or whether that treatment should be withheld. Clearly the very best guidance that can be given to a family in those circumstances is for you to have given clear written instruction as to what your wishes would have been in those circumstances. Our expertise and experience in this very complex and sensitive field means that we are able to advise you on the best way to ensure that those wishes are properly reflected in the documentation that is produced. The use of Lasting Powers of Attorney in this way also build in significant safeguards to ensure that any directions that you put forward are not abused and are carried out responsibly.

To receive our specialist guidance on this very important topic please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Who do I Contact?

Thomas Slack, Associate Solicitor, Private Client Services Thomas Slack

Associate Solicitor, Private Client Services

Tel: 01623 626141

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Cassandra Worton, Partner, Private Client Services Cassandra Worton

Partner, Private Client Services

Tel: 01773 822333

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