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The current national lockdown rules which came into force at midnight on 4th November 2020 have significant implications regarding contact with loved ones, particularly vulnerable family members residing in care homes. In order to make decisions concerning the health and welfare on behalf of such family members, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for health and welfare is required.

Many of us will have seen the distressing images of a 73 year old retired nurse being detained in the back of a police car after removing her 97-year-old mother from her care home. After nine months of isolation, the family wanted to look after her at home. The daughter was arrested at the scene and the 97 year old lady was taken back to the care home where she had been resident for nearly a year. The daughter was later de-arrested by the police but the family were unable to remove their elderly relative before the new national lockdown was implemented.

It has since been confirmed that whilst the family had an LPA for property and financial affairs, there was no LPA for health and welfare in place. In the absence of an LPA for health and welfare the family were not legally allowed to remove their relative from the care home.

By appointing a health and welfare Attorney under an LPA, a Donor can give their loved ones the authority to make, or help the them make, decisions regarding their wellbeing and medical care.

Such decisions can include whether life sustaining treatment should be administered by a doctor as well as making decisions regarding where the Donor lives which, given the current national lockdown, will arguably provide families with much more flexibility and choice about contact with their elderly relatives who will otherwise be subject to the new guidance issued by the government on 4th November. The new guidance suggests that:

  • Visitors and residents enter the premises through different entrances and meet in Covid-secure areas/pods separated by floor-to-ceiling screens
  • Window visits be made where visitors do not need to come inside the care home or they remain in their care and the resident is socially distanced
  • Outdoor visits can be made with one other person in areas which can be accessed without anyone going through a shared building
  • Virtual visits should be encouraged

If you would like further information regarding Lasting Powers of Attorney, then please contact our experienced Private Client team today. Call us on 01484 821 500 or email