Health and welfare attorneys

As a health and welfare attorney, you make (or help the donor make) decisions about things like:

  • daily routine, for example washing, dressing and eating
  • medical care
  • where the donor lives

You can only make decisions when the donor does not have mental capacity to make them.

You must tell people involved in the donor’s care when you start making decisions. This includes the donor’s:

  • friends and family
  • doctor and other healthcare staff
  • care workers, social worker and other social care staff

You may need to use your lasting power of attorney to prove to staff that you can act for the donor.

Using the donor’s money

You might need to spend the donor’s money on things that maintain or improve their quality of life. This can include:

  • new clothes or hairdressing
  • decorating their home or room in a care home
  • paying for extra support so the donor can go out more, for example to visit friends or relatives or to go on holiday

You must ask for money from the person in charge of the donor’s funds.

Refusing or consenting to treatment

Check the lasting power of attorney (LPA) for instructions about refusing or consenting to treatment.

You’ll need to:

  • show the LPA to care staff
  • sign medical consent forms
  • make decisions in the donor’s best interests

You cannot always make decisions about the donor’s medical treatment, for example if the donor’s made a living will or has been sectioned.

Living wills (‘advance decisions’)

This is a legal statement from the donor about which medical treatments they do not want. You’ll need to give this to care staff along with the LPA.

Apply for a one-off decision

You may need to apply for a one-off decision from the Court of Protection to make a decision about a medical treatment if:

  • the living will and LPA give different instructions
  • the medical staff or the donor’s friends and family disagree about whether the treatment should be given