Emergency & Future Planning
Carers Emergency Plan
When you care for someone, there may be times where the unexpected happens and you need help unexpectedly to care for your loved one. This could be due to being taken ill, having a family crisis to deal with or your car breaking down so being unable to get home on time for your loved one. An emergency plan can help to ease your worries that should this happen your loved one will be well cared for and help to reduce stress at the time trying to make arrangements for them. It can stop an emergency being a crisis and give you peace of mind.
The Bexley Carers Emergency Plan helps you to think about who could be available to help you in an emergency and to have important information about your loved ones and their needs in one place. It is important to share a copy with trusted family members or friends and to let people know where you keep it at home. Make sure that the information is updated regularly as things can often change.
If you or your loved one receive support from Bexley Council they can also store a copy of your plan in case they are contacted in an emergency.
The Bexley Carers Emergency Plan is a template for you to use which covers things such as:
- Emergency contacts
- The likes and dislikes of the person you support
- The needs of the person you support and how they communicate
- Medication and health information
- You can download the adults Carers Emergency Plan here
- You can download the Children and Young People Carers Emergency Plan here
As a carer, you may often worry about what would happen to the person you care for if you suddenly became ill or were involved in an accident. Bexley operates a Carers Emergency Card scheme which is free to apply for.
As a carer, you carry this card with you so that in the event of an emergency people know that you are a carer and somebody relies on you. It has a space to write down the details of a trusted person who can be contacted in an emergency to make sure that your loved one is cared for.
You can request your card through a local carers organisation
Fire safety check
The London Fire Brigade provide free home fire safety visits to help prevent accidents and keep you safe. During the visit officers will give you fire safety advice suited to your needs and home and may be able to fit free smoke alarms or specialist alarms for people with hearing or visual impairments.
You can also complete their online first safety checker in a few minutes without needing a visit.
- You can find out more on the London Fire Brigade website
Making a will allows you to set out what you want to happen after you die. It can be difficult to think about, but it makes sure that your wishes are set out and followed, as well as helping your family or friends to handle your affairs when the time comes. A will makes sure that the things you own (which could be money, property or possessions) go to the people you want them to.
As a carer, making a will allows you to make sure that the person you care for receives anything which you would like them to and is cared for when you are not here.
- Age UK have created a useful factsheet about making a will
Setting up a trust can help you to look after the person you care for in the future by making sure that money, property and investments are protected and available for them. They can help to make sure that your loved one doesn’t lose their means tested benefits or their funding for care, as well as helping to protect them from the risk of financial abuse.
It also means that if your loved one is assessed as not having the mental capacity to manage their finances or choices the trustees you choose for the trust would do this for them. These choices include things such as where they will live or how they will receive care and support. If you do not have a trust the council could apply to become their appointees, which means that they would then take over decision making for your loved one and these decisions may not be ones that you would have wanted for your loved one.
Trusts can be complicated, so it is usually recommended to get support from a specialist or solicitor to set up a trust.
- Mencap have a Wills and Trusts service including webinars and guides.
- The Mental Health Foundation have also produced a useful factsheet about financial planning for the future
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf if you’re no longer able to, or want to, make your own decisions. Power of Attorney applies if the person you care for has capacity to make decisions.
You can apply for an Ordinary Power of Attorney which covers financial affairs and is valid whilst the person still has mental capacity. It is often used if you need temporary cover such as when someone is in hospital or if they find it difficult to get out.
A Lasting Power of Attorney covers decisions about financial affairs or your health and care:
- A Lasting Power of Attorney for financial affairs covers things such as paying bills, buying or selling property and investing money. As an attorney you must keep the person’s money separate from your own and keep records of how money is spent. It can be used whilst the person still has capacity (for example if they cannot get to the bank) or they can state that it only comes into force if they lose capacity.
- A Lasting Power of Attorney for health and care can only be used once the person has lost capacity. It covers decisions such as where they should live, their care and the activities they do. The attorney can also be given permission to make decisions about life saving treatment.
It can be good to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place before it is needed so that if problems were to arise in the future there are arrangements already in place.
To set up Power of Attorney you will need to complete the application which you can do yourself or with support from a local organisation or solicitor. The Power of Attorney must be registered whilst the person still has capacity and there will be a fee to pay. To get the forms you can:
Deputyship is a way of getting legal authority to make decisions on someone’s behalf if they are not able to. A deputy is somebody who is appointed by the Court of Protection to manage the affairs of the other person; either their property and financial affairs or decisions about their welfare (or both). Deputyship applies if the person you care for does not have capacity to make decisions.
A deputy is usually a family member, carer or friend but if there is nobody who can become deputy it is possible for a professional, such as a solicitor or the local council, to become a deputy.
Deputyship is different from Lasting Power of Attorney; a Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to choose who they want to make decisions for them in the future whereas Deputyship is used if the person has already lost the capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Being a deputy could involve making decisions in their best interest and keeping a record of these decisions for example; supporting with their care arrangements, managing their finances, deciding where they should live and more. It is important that you keep records about any decisions you make as well as copies of any documents that are relevant as you will usually have to complete
To apply for deputyship, you would need to submit an application to the Court of Protection giving detailed information about the circumstances of the person you care for. This can be a long process but if there is a risk to the person you care for you can make an emergency application. Many solicitors will handle Deputyship applications so that you don’t have to but there will be a fee for this.
- You can get more information and download the forms on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy
Priority Support with Utilities
If you or the person you care for are classed as vulnerable you can be put on your utility companies’ Priority Services Register. This means that your home will be prioritised if there is an emergency and you may get advanced notice of planned works.
You may qualify if:
- You have reached State Pension age
- You, or someone living with you, is disabled or has a long term medical condition
- You, or someone living with you, has a hearing or visual impairment
- You, or someone living with you, has additional communication needs
Speak to your utility provider to find out whether you can be added to the Priority Services Register.
In Case of Emergency
In case of emergency (ICE) is a campaign started by paramedics to encourage people to enter emergency contacts in their mobile phone. Simply store the word ICE as a contact in your address book and enter the phone number of the person you want to be contacted in an emergency.
Hospital, ambulance or police staff will be able to quickly find contact details in an emergency and contact people who could support you in an emergency.
If you lock your phone this will prevent staff from being able to access your contacts. Many phones have a way of making sure that an emergency contact can still be viewed if your phone is locked – be sure to check your instruction manual or speak to your phone company to find out how to enable this.