Healthcare and Medical Power of Attorney

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were admitted to the hospital, and you were not conscious to answer questions or make decisions about your treatment? Would you want to leave it up to a busy doctor to decide what the right decision would be? You would want someone that you trusted with your life to speak for you. A medical power of attorney permits a person of your choosing to make those healthcare decisions for you.

Living Will vs. Medical POA

You may have been asked at your doctor’s office if you have an advanced directive or living will. A medical power of attorney and a living will are two separate types of advanced directives. They are both designed to help you get the care and treatment that you need and exclude those you don’t want.

A living will lets you communicate your end-of-life wishes. An example may be that you do not want to be on breathing machines or have tube feeding. The living will is only applicable if you are permanently unable to communicate, are terminal or have a condition that qualifies according to laws in your state.

A medical power of attorney names a person of your choosing to make medical decisions for you when you cannot communicate. The powers that a Medical POA conveys is farther reaching than a living will. It is valid whether you are temporarily unconscious or in a permanent vegetative state. It can also be combined with a Living Will.

Naming Your Agent or Proxy

It is a pretty straightforward process to fill out a Healthcare POA. The hardest part is picking the person you trust the most to do the right thing for you. Once you have done that, you need to have a conversation with that person to be sure they agree to take on that task. If they do, you simply name them on the form and have it notarized.

Many forms require you to choose a secondary healthcare proxy in the event that the primary agent is unwilling or unable to serve. You’ll want to discuss this with your second choice, as well. In both cases, make sure that they understand what is important to you, so they have the confidence to make decisions based on your wishes.