A new Christmas campaign is urging Glaswegians to put a Power of Attorney (PoA) in place to ensure patients can leave hospital when medically fit.
Initially run by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) and Glasgow City Council (GCC), the message is now spreading further afield with Lanarkshire, Tayside, and Argyll & Bute all joining the campaign and boosting awareness in their own areas.
The campaign aims to encourage people to talk to their loved ones about establishing a PoA. This allows a designated person to step in and make the right decisions in the event of friends or family falling ill and being unable to make their own decisions.
Twelve months on from its inception, the campaign has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people across the city putting a PoA in place. In fact, more than 2,000 people have now registered their PoA with the Office of the Public Guardian this year.
Unfortunately, there are still large numbers of people entering hospital unable to make decisions for themselves who haven’t appointed someone to act as their Attorney. This can lead to a delay in people being able to leave hospital when their medical treatment is complete.
Jill Carson, Adult Services Manager, NHSGGC said "We’re delighted with the success of the campaign over the past year, but we know that there are many more people still to take this important step.
“Having a PoA in place can make a real difference by ensuring that loved ones' wishes are carried out quickly without prolonged legal negotiations.
“It means people can be in hospital for longer than they need to be and this can contribute to a loss of independence.
“Many people still don’t realise that their next of kin can’t act for them if they become unable to make their own decisions due to accident or illnesses such as stroke or dementia.
“We want people to appoint an Attorney - someone they trust - so that they don’t need to worry about their future should they be unable to manage their own affairs.
“When you are the Attorney for someone you love, it means you can make decisions about their welfare and their medical treatment as well as manage their financial affairs. We want everyone in Glasgow to make plans for their future by choosing someone to be their Attorney."
Ann Cummings, Strategic Lead for Carer Support, Glasgow City Council, said: "Appointing an attorney makes sense as it will help to protect you and your family should an accident or ill-health affect your ability to make decisions for yourself.
"Your attorney can then act as your representative and make important decisions on your behalf about vital issues such as finance, care and treatment.
"Sadly many older people spend far too long in hospital because they no longer have the capacity to decide for themselves and it takes a court order to intervene.
"The council is working in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on this issue as we know that appointing an attorney can relieve a lot of stress and heartache for families in what are already difficult situations."