Budget 2020 – Call for national scheme to increase Enduring Powers of Attorney
Safeguarding Ireland today called for the introduction of a State Scheme in Budget 2020 to encourage more Adults put in place Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directives.
Safeguarding Ireland said more people ‘Thinking Ahead’ would help to reduce and prevent abuse of vulnerable adults – and also save the State social service costs.
Speaking in advance of the Budget on October 8th, Chairperson Patricia Rickard Clarke said that the Government should introduce a dedicated incentive scheme involving community-based organisations, Solicitors and GPs.
Recent research, commissioned by Safeguarding Ireland, showed that just 6% of adults had appointed an Attorney under Enduring Power of Attorney, and just 8% had discussed a preferred place of care.
Ms Rickard Clarke said: “When people don’t have their choices, preferences and decisions legally stated – and they have a life-changing accident, become seriously ill, or frail due to age – they are reliant on the honesty of friends and family. In most cases people’s wishes are upheld by loved ones.
“Unfortunately, it is estimated that up to 10% of people are dishonest in how they manage a vulnerable person’s money. That is why it is very important for all of us to appoint an Attorney and also put in place an Advance Healthcare Directive.
“Many people don’t put these in place because of the cost, the time it takes, or because they find it legalistic and difficult to understand.
“There is an opportunity to develop an approach whereby community and representative organisations engage with their members to put an Enduring Power of Attorney or healthcare plan in place, which could then be provided at nominal cost and via an agreed protocol with Solicitors who are registered for the Scheme.
“The State could both provide financial supports for organisations to promote take-up to their members – and also pay an agreed top up contribution to Solicitors. GPs could also have a recognised role in helping patients put in place an Advance Healthcare Directive.
“More planning ahead would also reduce complex disputes within families. This would save significant costs for State services in tacking problems before they emerge,” Ms Rickard Clarke said.
Appointing an Attorney under Enduring Power of Attorney means that people appoint legal and financial decision-making powers to a chosen person to make decisions for them at a time when they may lack decision-making capacity.
Putting in place an Advance Healthcare Directive means officially recording future healthcare preferences such as place of care, or treatment preferences. This would then inform care decisions at a time when a person may lack decision-making capacity.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731. www.safeguardingireland.org
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