Court of Protection Image - hands holding

End of life: care, capacity and practicalities

Earlier this month I spoke at a conference held jointly by Clarke Willmott and the Centre for Ethics in Medicine. I looked at the interaction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Care Act 2014 and considered how these remarkable pieces of legislation are applied by those in the front line, particularly for elderly and vulnerable adults who are nearing the end of life. I talked about the fiduciary duties of attorneys and deputies, underlining that they do not have a ‘licence to loot’ the finances of the vulnerable adults for whom they are agents. The audience of doctors, social workers, academics and lawyers participated in lively debate about how law, ethics and reality can work together, since they so often collide.

In my recent article for the STEP Journal, I wrote about gratuitous care payments being made in cases where the recipient has lost capacity and their care is being provided by a family member.

In the same week I hosted a wills workshop at Bristol Museum’s death fair as part of their ‘Death: the human experience’ exhibition.  The fair provided talks, demonstrations and workshops offering a practical guide for dealing with death, dying and bereavement – even a shroud wrapping demonstration!  The museum reports that 50,000 visitors attended the exhibition; they have received some “amazing feedback” and have been nominated for a Museums and Heritage award for excellence.

March 2016 has already been an incredible month for raising awareness of the issues surrounding incapacity and death so I look forward to what the rest of the year brings.