A Healthcare Power of Attorney (also known as an Advanced Medical Directive or a Living Will) allows your trusted friend or family member to make medical treatment decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes to doctors.
Fairfax living will lawyer Rhonda Miller’s document has three documents in one. Her Healthcare Power of Attorney comprises the healthcare power of attorney, living will, and a full and complete HIPAA waiver.
The Healthcare Power of Attorney section names an agent to authorize treatment, receive health care information, and receive medical information. This is a very extensive section covering aging in place, in-home treatment, the authorization of all types of medical treatment and expenses, and executing documents such as DNRs. Many of our clients will tell us they have a DNR. However, it is not possible to have a DNR at every place it might be needed which is why it is necessary to authorize your agent to sign one on your behalf. In addition, the document has a living will where you state your wishes regarding life support. Finally, the document has a full and complete HIPPA waiver.
Other necessary parts of the document are organ donation preferences. It is important to put your preference in the document because if your preference is not to be a donor, then your family will not be bothered. In addition, we put your funeral and burial wishes in the document.
We encourage our clients to make as many decisions as they are comfortable with. For example, Jane is sure she does not want to be put on life support if she is brain dead, so we would put that in the document. Also, if Jane wants to be buried we would put that in the document as well. Without a health care power of attorney, you must have a guardian or 'conservator' of your person appointed by the court before decisions can be made on your behalf.
This is a critic document. When your spouse is dying the hospital will want this document to authorize you to make important decisions when it comes to life support wishes.
As a parent do you realize that once your child is 18 years old you no longer have any right to make health care decision for him/her. You no longer have the right to receive his/her health care information. What if your child is hospitalized? You could be left standing outside not knowing what is going on if your child is not capable of talking. This applies to your college-age child as well. Your son/daughter can go away to school, get injured, and you have no right to know or make a decision for him or her. Many of my clients are very frustrated that the only rights they have according to the university is to pay the bill. That is why Rhonda Miller developed a special Healthcare Power of Attorney for Students. This Healthcare Power of Attorney is the decision for a young person. It is designed to preserve life but give parents the right to information and the right to make medical decisions in an emergency.
There is also a special Healthcare Power of Attorney for people suffering from mental illness. It allows the agent to put him/her in the hospital against his/her will. The hospitalization lasts for 10 days. It allows the mental health crisis to pass. This document is very important. Regular Healthcare Power of Attorney specifically forbid the agent from committing someone. Under the regular law you can ask for a 72-hour hold if the person is going to harm himself or others. However, sometimes that is not enough time for the medication to help someone. The 72-hour hold is also subject to the Magistrates agreement. If the Magistrate does not believe the person is a danger to himself/herself or others he can let him out. In general, the system is very frustrating to the loved ones of people who suffer from mental illness. The best solution is to have the person sign the special Healthcare Power of Attorney.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney not only saves precious decision-making time, but it also ensures that the individual you trust the most has the power to make these important decisions for you if you are unable to make the decisions on your own. If you do not have a Healthcare Power of Attorney, then your loved one is forced to get a guardianship in order to make health care decisions, authorize treatment, and execute healthcare related documents. In order to get a guardianship, a court proceeding is brought. Once the guardianship is granted by the judge the guardian has to file reports on you with the state until after your death. This process is expensive and time-consuming.
If you have questions regarding Healthcare Power of Attorney or need assistance drafting your documents, contact Fairfax living will lawyer Rhonda Miller today for a confidential consultation.