Access to healthcare is essential, especially if a person is incapable of doing so. There could be several reasons why an individual cannot make healthcare decisions for himself—these are coma, a vegetative state, reasons related to mental condition, or all of the above. In these cases, that person can elect someone to handle decisions on his or her behalf with a healthcare power of attorney form. Find out more about the underlying legal rules relative to access to healthcare services with this article. Read More
A healthcare power of attorney form is also known in some states as “medical proxy” or “advance directive.” It is a document used to grant special power to represent an incapacitated person during any healthcare transaction. Often, it includes a living will that carries out a person’s medical directive. According to CDC.gov, 28 percent of home health care patients, 65 percent of nursing home residents, and 88 percent of hospice care patients have prepared a medical proxy.
Incapacity or illness can hinder an individual from making healthcare decisions. However, it does not mean that they are denied access to medical services. Because, with a healthcare power of attorney form, they can state what actions should be taken for their health if they are not able to communicate with a doctor. Learn the simple steps on how to create a healthcare power of attorney form. Continue reading below.
Panic may ensue if a person needs immediate medical attention without the existence of a healthcare power of attorney. It is not legally permissible for the person or their family to make a healthcare power of attorney while that person is injured. The way around this is electing an agent to handle your healthcare situation. Hence, pick someone that you trust and aware of your medical history, from your previous doctor appointments down to your current medical treatments. You can also select another agent if the first one is not able to perform the responsibilities. Afterward, acknowledge their names, contact details, and e-mail address at the bottom section of the form.
Your healthcare decisions should be up to you unless you allow your agent to do so. When it happens, the agent can make decisions related to your medical wishes. Here are the actions your agent can do for your healthcare: surgical treatment, nursing home treatment or care, hospitalization, medical treatment, psychiatric treatment, homestay care, organ donation, and end of life decisions. But, you can limit their decision making to a certain level. Do this by exempting the agent with authority that could not enhance your medical intention.
It is common for a person to encounter health troubles. So, as we grow older, we need to outline health plans in a living will. Attaching a living will to the healthcare power of attorney form is optional. However, if a living will carry out your end-of-life requests, it should be submitted together with the form. You have the option to let medical staff care for you and strictly abide by what you have written in the living will. Or, use the agent to represent your medical care desires to the hospital. This document should guide the medical staff and the agent of what actions they can take for your health.
Signing the healthcare power of attorney form means it is complete. However, it should comply with the state signing law where the principal is residing. You can do this with the presence of two witnesses or notary public, or both. Then, the document becomes valid. During the process, the principal must be able to think critically and freely because, once signed, what was written in the form is unchangeable.
You get a healthcare power of attorney form from the local court staff or the post office. Or, you can create one by purchasing a template on the internet. Then, tweak the template based on the requirements of your interest.
The healthcare power of attorney form is available in your local hospital. You can also get one from your doctor, nursing home, a local government website, or an online legal provider.
The rules in every state are different. That is why the court will step in if an injured person does not have a healthcare power of attorney. The court has to appoint someone—the conservator—to handle the medical and financial decisions. Usually, the chosen person is a close family member.
We all hope that we will never have to use a healthcare power of attorney one day. However, life can be unpredictable and, sometimes, accidents happen without warning. To prepare ourselves and take care of our health, we should create a healthcare power of attorney now. With this, we can guide people to our health desires whenever we cannot make decisions for ourselves.