The Power of Attorney for Healthcare is the designated responsibility to make health care decisions on behalf of an individual when that person loses the capacity to do so themselves. Healthcare decisions include requiring, approving or denying medical procedures, medicines and assisted care. If you are unconscious or unable to make decisions, the Agent is authorized to make decisions for you. Medical facilities may delay treatment if the Agent cannot be reached or make a decision, so choosing the right Agent is crucial.
Power of Attorney may be designated in writing to any individual over the age of 18. Your Agent, along with all of your medical wishes, should be listed in a Living Will. You may also wish to consider making your agent your Guardian of Person, should decisions fall outside of the medical limits but still relate to your general well-being.
Designating Power of Attorney is a difficult decision for everyone, and requires a high level of communication. Your Agent can be anyone with the capacity to act on your behalf over the age of 18. Family members are often given Power of Attorney, and find it difficult to make decisions based on your wishes. The individual to be designated as your Agent should be consulted first.
The Agent should keep a copy of your Living Will, and fully understand the limits of their decision making power. You should also leave a copy of your Living Will with family, your doctor, and any interested parties. Bring copies with on vacation.
Some people choose agencies or medical professionals to represent them as Agents, so emotions don’t interfere with the execution of the individual’s wishes. Any decision an Agent makes may result in death, so clear expectations are important. It is advisable to appoint successor Agents as well. While you cannot appoint co-Agents, successor Agents can step in if your Agent becomes incapacitated, resigns, or the courts remove the agent for dereliction of duty.
Eileen Kerlin Walsh P.C. and Associates can help you choose your Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Please call 708-448-5169 to schedule a consultation. Eileen will help you prepare the documents and create a detailed plan to ease the burden on your loved ones.