The current Mental Health (Jersey) Law was passed by the States in 1969 and came into effect on 1 January 1972.
In October 2018 Jersey is making a leap forward to help and support those in our community who may need (now or in the future) help with decision making. This Article concentrates on circumstances where any individual wishes to make preparations for such events. Whilst the previous legislation has been updated the new Mental Health (Jersey) Law 2016, together with the Capacity and Self Determination (Jersey) Law 2016 provide a complete new statutory framework.
One of the new principles introduces is that of a “Lasting Power of Attorney” (“LPA”).
This is a concept which may be familiar to those with elderly or vulnerable family members who live in England and Wales. This is a new and important development to the Law of Jersey.
In simple terms it enables any adult to take control of plans and decisions about their future. Not only in relation to their health and welfare, but also in relation to their property and affairs.
Such arrangements would come into effect only in the event that they lose the (legal) capacity to make such decisions for themselves.
Any person who has complied with the formalities for creating a Lasting Power of Attorney and who is unable to make a decision or who has subsequently lost capacity.
Decisions about health and welfare OR decisions about property and affairs.
Completion of a formal document and registration with the Judicial Greffe.
At any time before the person either becomes unable to take decisions or their loss of capacity.
By the individual either before they lose capacity OR at any time if they regain capacity.
It enables someone to place responsibility into the hands of another, that person is then subject to the checks and balances in the law.
This also enables an individual to make advances decisions regarding advance medical decisions – sometimes known as “do not resuscitate” decisions. This may be of relevant to medical teams when considering the end of life pathway and similar decisions.
Linked to any decision about a DNR is the concept of a living will. Many people are concerned about the possibility of invasive treatment to maintain life at all costs. Your decisions about this can be recorded in a living will. This would mean that all those involved in your care are aware of what you want to happen (and what you don’t want to happen). The ability to reflect now on issues about the “end of life pathway” and to consider these difficult issues calmly may provide you and your family with reassurance about what you want.
None of us wish to consider the indignities which life may throw at us, or a loved one but providing certainty (for the individual and guidance for the family) can provide reassurance at the most stressful and upsetting times of life…