Unlike a living will, which is usually reserved for terminally ill individuals, a health care power of attorney identifies the person who will make decisions on your behalf and carry out your wishes if you are incapacitated. Here are some things to consider when creating a health care power of attorney to manage your medical care.
Selecting someone to make decisions on your behalf is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll have to make now. Choose someone who possesses the following:
- Agrees with your views and whose judgment you trust.
- Able to stand up for your preferences.
- Feels confident enough to speak with medical personnel about your wishes.
- Remains calm under pressure and in stress situations.
In addition to selecting a reliable individual to be your health care power of attorney, you must also determine and outline your medical wishes.
Though traumatic medical situations may be hard to imagine, you must take them into account and determine how you want your power of attorney to proceed in these circumstances:
- If your medical state deteriorated to the point that you could no longer speak or eat, would you want aggressive medical treatment to prolong your life?
- Would you want to be resuscitated or kept alive if you suffered from severe dementia, advanced Alzheimer’s disease or a traumatic brain injury?
- If there is no hope of recovery, would you want your life prolonged with a feeding tube?
Life throws unexpected curveballs, including unplanned health crises, which is why it’s wise to take some time today and consider who would be your health care power of attorney.