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Personal Health And Welfare
The Deputy Order an individual receives upon appointment sets out their powers in relation to person who lacks capacity. Powers can apply to any area in which the person could have acted for themselves, but will primarily centre on an area relating to either:
- Property and financial affairs; or
- Personal health and welfare.
As a personal health and welfare affairs Deputy, it is your role to manage and deal with all aspects of the person’s health and personal welfare in a way that is in their best interests.
Failure to do so could result in the Court of Protection revoking the Court Order completely and, in some circumstances, making you personally liable to claims of negligence or criminal fraud charges. It is therefore important that an individual is aware of the responsibilities attached to their role as Deputy. This guide will provide a brief overview of the duties associated with Personal Health and Welfare Affairs Deputyship. For more information, give us call on 01536 276300 and arrange a chat with one of our experienced solicitors.
A Personal Health and Welfare Affairs Deputy can deal with all aspects of a person’s welfare including:
- Making decisions about medical treatment.
- Accepting or refusing certain types of health care.
- Decisions about life sustaining treatment.
- General lifestyle choices such as diet, daily routine and whether the person should go into a care home.
The decisions a Deputy makes should be reasonable and in line with the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.
When carrying out their responsibilities, the Deputy must ensure that they are constantly acting in the person’s best interests. This ranges from minor decisions such as deciding what they eat, to major decisions such as financial transactions. Deciding what is in a person’s best interest however, is a difficult concept to determine and it is therefore important that the following factors are considered before making any definitive choice.
When deciding what is in the person’s best interest, a Deputy should:
- Involve the person who lacks capacity in as much of the decision as possible.
- Consider any beliefs or feelings that they may previously have expressed.
- Consider if the person has the capacity to make the decision for themselves or whether they may have the capacity in the future.
- Consult others close to the person about their views on their best interests.
- Identify any other factors the person may have contemplated if they had the capacity to do so.
When assessing whether the Deputy acted in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity, the Court will want to ensure that, alongside the checklist above, the Deputy acted in the ‘reasonable belief ‘ that what they were doing was in the person’s best interest. The Deputy would be required to show therefore that it was reasonable for them to think that they were acting in the person’s best interests at the time they made their decision or took action.