What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?
A Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal document for your health care. You decide who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. You decide what kinds of medical treatment you would like to have.
When a medical doctor determines you cannot understand him or her, she will contact your health care agent. Your agent is someone you trust and have named to act on your behalf.
What Does a Health Care Agent Do?
A health care agent acts when you cannot act on your behalf. He or she makes medical decisions on your behalf. Your health care agent can speak with your doctors about your condition. He or she can seek a second opinion if needed.
Your agent can authorize medical treatment for you. Your agent can even authorize withholding medical treatment for you.
You choose someone you trust to be your agent. Your agent must follow the instructions you have given them in your Health Care Power of Attorney.
When Does a Health Care Power of Attorney Go Into Effect?
A Health Care Power of Attorney goes into effect when you can not make medical decisions on your behalf. You may be unconscious. You may have altzheimers or you may be in the middle of surgery.
Once you are recovered and can understand and communicate with your doctors, the Health Care Power of Attorney remains in effect.
Why Do You Need a Health Care Power of Attorney?
Life happens. No one plans to be an accident or have an unexpected illness.
If you do not have a Health Care Power of Attorney in place, problems can arise. Your family may argue over what care each one thinks you would have wanted. You may end up receiving treatment you did not want.
As a result of not having a Health Care Power of Attorney, your family may need to file a Guardianship. A Guardianship is a legal proceeding. Filing a Guardianship can be expensive and time consuming. The Court may appoint someone you do not know or like to be your guardian.
Additionally, your loved ones may not have access to your medical records. Your doctors may refuse to speak with your family members about your condition. To prevent this tragedy from happening, you need a Health Care Power of Attorney in place.