Health Care Directives
Take Control of Your Medical Care
Should you become incapacitated or in the event that end-of-life care is needed, it is important that your beliefs and wishes are respected. Although you may have clearly expressed these to your loved ones, it is imperative to have legally binding documentation that captures your decisions.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Healthcare Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a trusted person, such as your partner, as your decision maker to communicate or make healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated. If you do not formally select a decision maker, your loved ones will face going to court to have a judge appoint someone to make these decisions for you. The judge may elect to select one of your blood relatives instead of your partner.
With a HIPAA authorization you grant specific individuals access to your medical information (e.g., to get a status update on your condition or receive your test results) without giving those individuals the authority to make decisions on your behalf. By providing information to your loved ones, you can help quiet the anxieties and uncertainties that often arise during times of emergency. This document can also help alleviate tensions between your partner, as the medical decision maker, and the rest of your loved ones.
Advanced Healthcare Directive
An Advanced Healthcare Directive, also known as a Living Will, conveys your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions, including whether to withdraw or withhold life sustaining treatment. Because these topics can be very sensitive, it is important that you carefully consider your wishes. Although it may take some soul-searching, you must know what you want to happen in certain situations so your wishes can be properly documented and communicated to your partner as the medical decision maker or to other loved ones if you wish. Absent specific instructions from you, your partner will be left trying to figure out what you want. This difficult situation can not only cause additional grief but it may breed disagreement between your partner and other loved ones if opinions differ about your care.