Planning Ahead ~ the Importance of Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship in Aged Care

Planning ahead: Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship in Aged Care.

If you or a loved one are considering entering residential care, there are several documents which are useful to have in place, prior to admission.

Whilst they aren’t mandatory, they’re highly desirable. They allow you to entrust important decisions to a person of your choice in the event that you’re unable to make your own decisions.

It’s important to talk to your family members or a trusted friend before-hand, as it can take time to formalize the documents and decide what you wish to include.

An advanced health directive allows you to document your choices regarding treatment and any other healthcare concerns, including which medical treatments you may or may not want in the future.

There are two different types of documents to consider;

~ An enduring power of attorney is a legal document which gives you the authority to nominate a trusted person to manage your financial affairs, should you lose the capacity to do so.

~ An enduring power of guardianship allows you to name a person who can make important decisions about where you live, who you might live with and any medical or dental care you may require.

Choosing the right person to represent you, who understands your desires and choices is very important. Ultimately, they’ll have the ability to make all decisions on your behalf, should you lose the capacity.

Loss of capacity can result from many things including; dementia, a brain injury as a result of an accident, or from mental illness. Sometimes this can happen very suddenly, so planning ahead is highly recommended.

You may choose to engage a lawyer to help with these documents or complete them yourself, they’re available online and must be witnessed by two independent people.

What happens if you lose decision-making capacity with no Guardian or Attorney in place?

In the event of a decision-making disability, without an Enduring Power of Attorney or Guardian document, a doctor may select someone to make a decision on your behalf, from the ‘hierarchy of decision-makers’. This may be an adult son or daughter, a sibling, a caregiver or a spouse.

Should there be no suitable decision-maker available, a Public Advocate may be appointed to make health care and lifestyle decisions and a Public Trustee may be used to manage your finances.

Many people prefer to nominate their own trusted decision-maker by planning ahead and completing the Enduring Power of Attorney and Guardian documents.

More information can be accessed via the links below –

Public Advocate

WA Health Department

Meath Care provides superior aged and residential accommodation in Perth, Western Australia.