Families are being urged to obtain Power of Attorneys to protect loved ones in the event of illness or accidents.
Glasgow's Health and Social Care Partnership (GHSCP) is encouraging people to apply for Power of Attorney (PoA) sooner than later to ensure they are legally able to make decisions about a loved one's care or business affairs should they lose mental capacity.
This week - Thursday 29 September - marks national Power of Attorney Day and Glasgow's HSCP is highlighting the importance of PoAs for peace of mind.
Councillor Chris Cunningham, Glasgow's Convener for Health, Care and Caring and Older People, said: "Power of Attorney is something everyone should have in place but sadly do not. For many people in Glasgow they realise this only when it's too late and end up facing a lengthy court process to be able to make decisions on behalf of their loved ones."
PoA is a legal document giving a nominated person the authority to act or make decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity ie: you are no longer able to look after your financial or personal affairs. Without a Power of Attorney, family members have no legal power to make decisions about important matters like long-term care or financial affairs.
Glasgow is one of 29 Health and Social Care Partnerships across Scotland encouraging people to apply for PoA.
Councillor Cunningham added: "PoA allows people to safeguard their future, should they lose the capacity to make decisions for themselves. It can be frustrating for health professionals who witness the devastation not having one can cause.
"People wrongly assume their next of kin can make decisions on their behalf, if they are diagnosed with dementia or have an accident which leaves them unable to make their own decisions.
"Unfortunately, that isn't the case, legally you must have Power of Attorney, and without it, you may have to go to court to request guardianship which can be a long and stressful process at a time when emotions are already running high."
Anyone interested in finding out more about Power of Attorney should consult their lawyer or visit https://mypowerofattorney.org.uk/
Some people may be eligible for a free service. To find out please contact the Glasgow Advice and Information Network (GAIN) helpline on 0808 801 1011.
Not having a PoA in place can lead to people being delayed from being discharged from hospital when they are fit to leave, for hundreds of days in some cases. This is clearly distressing for patients and families, as well as unnecessarily costly for the health and social care system.
A previous study found there were more than 70 people delayed in hospital having been assessed as lacking capacity with no Power of Attorney in place. The average wait for guardianship was 326 days.