A campaign urging Glaswegians to put a Power of Attorney (PoA) in place has seen a 34% rise in 2014.
Run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and Glasgow City Council (GCC), the message has been so successful that other Boards across Scotland are joining the campaign and boosting awareness in their own areas.
The campaign, which has been running since the end of 2013, 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.
Nearly a year and a half on from its inception, the campaign has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people across the city putting a PoA in place. During 2014 there was been a 34% rise in the number of people across Glasgow and Clyde registering a PoA with the Office of the Public Guardian and an 18% rise across Scotland.
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.
Councillor Archie Graham, Joint chair of the shadow Glasgow Health and Social Partnership, said: "The ‘Start the Conversation’ campaign has had a tremendous impact and has undoubtedly encouraged more people to appoint an attorney for their affairs.
“I have no doubt that many people would have remained in hospital for much longer than necessary without the effort to highlight this very important issue.
“Appointing an attorney can protect you and your family should an accident or ill health affect your ability to make decisions for yourself.
“Going to hospital can be a very difficult experience but it can become distressing if someone is unable to go home because they no longer have the ability to make decisions for themselves.
“At such stressful times the last thing anyone needs is to be faced with a mountain of red tape, but that can be the reality of the situation if power of attorney is not in place.
“Arranging for an attorney can help people avoid a delayed discharge and that is something we all want to see.
“The ‘Start the Conversation’ campaign has already been a big success and that shows the benefits of Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde working together.
“I will be very pleased to see this campaign spread as widely as possible as it will help people when they are at their most vulnerable.”
Jill Carson, Adult Services Manager, NHSGGC, added: "We’re delighted with the success of the campaign. Almost 20,000 people have now viewed the PoA website. The figures show that people are often seeking out further information on the website after watching one of our TV adverts.
“However, 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.
“Without a PoA 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."
For further information, please visit: www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk