lasting power of attorney

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A power of proxy given legal authority by the Mental Capacity Act 2005, which replaces the role of enduring power of attorney. Under the Act, anyone who has mental capacity may choose another person to make decisions (including decisions regarding health care) on their behalf if they subsequently lose capacity. Once the patient’s loss of capacity is registered with the Public Guardian and the power of attorney is granted, the proxy becomes responsible for representing the patient’s best interests, but he or she can refuse life-sustaining treatment for the patient only if express written provision for such a decision was made by the patient in advance (see advance statement, decision, or directive). The only circumstances in which the wishes of the proxy need not be followed is where clinicians believe that he or she is not acting in the patient’s best interests. See also advocacy, proxy decision, substituted judgment.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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