LPAs are important for care homes too

Running a care home can be stressful - managing budgets, keeping residents and their families happy and ensuring consistent ongoing care. This burden increases when a resident has an accident, becomes unwell or loses mental capacity. If that happens, who steps in to make decisions on behalf of that resident? Who can you, as the managers and/or owners of the care home, turn to when this problem arises?

How does a LPA benefit a care home?

If the resident has a lasting power of attorney (LPA), life will be so much easier for everyone involved, including you, the care home provider. A LPA allows a person to decide who they would like to look after their property and financial affairs if they do not have the mental capacity to do so. The LPA can also be used before a person loses mental capacity. Residents of care homes can ask their attorneys to manage their finances for them. This means that their care fees can be paid by the attorneys dealing with matters on the resident’s behalf.
This is such a valuable arrangement and it is surprising, perhaps, that more care homes do not encourage or even require residents to enter into a LPA. Once in place and registered, a care provider is able to deal directly with the resident’s chosen attorneys, ensuring that delays are avoided when immediate decisions need to be made and providing continuity of care.

What could happen if a resident doesn’t have a LPA in place?

Without a LPA the care provider could be caught in financial limbo whilst the resident’s family applies to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to manage the resident’s financial affairs. If the family is unable to pay the fees in the meantime, the care home may be placed in a difficult situation. This can of course lead to a lengthy delay in payment of fees which could place a heavy burden on cash flow and viability.
Care home owners are recommended to broach the subject of LPAs with care home residents and their families so that they are encouraged to consider these vital issues long before any urgency arises.
A very important point to consider is that the person entering into a LPA must do so before they lose mental capacity. If a resident has been diagnosed with early onset dementia or Alzheimer’s they could still enter into a LPA, but a doctor may need to confirm that they have capacity to do so.
Birkett Long will visit your care home and give a free presentation on the benefit of LPAs for your staff, residents and their families. For this service, or for further information, contact Liz Jones on 01206 217611 or email at ben.parmenter@birkettlong.co.uk.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.