My mother is in a care home – who decides if she has the Covid-19 vaccine?
First and foremost, your mother should decide whether she has the Covid-19 vaccine. This is her decision to make. She should be given as much support as possible to make this decision herself – this may include using simple terms or speaking to her at a certain time of the day.
The NHS suggest the key points that she will need to know to make the decision are:
- the anticipated benefits of the vaccine;
- the likely side effects of the vaccine and any risks specific to her;
- the anticipated disadvantages of not consenting to the vaccine; and
- the number of injections required.
The question of whether your mother has the relevant capacity to make this decision should be decided by reference to her capacity at this specific time and on this specific issue.
If your mother lacks the relevant capacity to make this decision herself, then a decision will need to be made on her behalf in her best interests. If your mother has a valid registered health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, then her appointed Attorney (or Attorneys) should make the decision if your mother cannot. They have been chosen and legally appointed by your mother to make such decisions on her behalf in these sort of circumstances.
In rare cases, your mother may have a health and welfare Deputy appointed by the Court of Protection. If this is the case, then the Deputy should make the decision.
If your mother lacks the relevant capacity to make this decision herself and does not have a health and welfare Attorney or Deputy, then the relevant professional should make the decision. In this case, it is reasonable to assume that this is a medical decision and therefore the Decision Maker should be a healthcare professional. This may be your mother’s GP.
It is important for you to know that family members or ‘next of kin’ (unless they are the Attorney or Deputy) should not be asked to make this decision. They have no legal authority to do so. Ideally, though, they should be consulted for their opinion and the decision and process should be recorded.
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