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What is a Medical Power of Attorney and Why Do You Need One?

A Medical Power of Attorney is a document to officially name a person to make all health care decisions for you if you are unable. This can include if you fall into a coma or if your memory or competency declines due to dementia. It can also help to have a medical power of attorney if you were to have a mental health crisis where you couldn’t think clearly for a brief time.

Living Will vs. Medical Power of Attorney

A living will is also a document where you can detail how you would like to be taken care of regarding end-of-life medical care. The difference between a living will and a medical power of attorney is handing your healthcare team a piece of paper vs. having an advocate fight for you and be there every step of the decision process.

Role of a Medical Power of Attorney

The person that you appoint as your medical power of attorney has a large role in your healthcare process: They can make several decisions regarding:

· Doctors and facilities

· Surgery decisions, including when and how invasive

· Drug treatments and pain management

· Quality of life vs. extending life

· Whether to disconnect life support

When you have a trusted medical power of attorney, you know that they will speak for you and communicate your wishes succinctly and in detail. This trusted person will fight for what’s in your best interest.

How to Choose a Medical Power of Attorney

Because this person could have your life in their hands, it’s critical to choose someone who knows your desires. Here are some aspects you might consider for your medical power of attorney:

· Knows your living will and has discussed it with you thoroughly

· Mentally competent and thoughtful adult

· Has had extensive discussions with you regarding possible health situations

· Can grasp medical concepts and strategies presented by the doctors

· Is NOT your healthcare provider

A medical power of attorney will be your advocate and have a good idea of what you would do if you could decide for yourself. It is essential to choose someone savvy and able to understand the medical choices laid before them.

Our team at Miles & Hatcher, LLP can help you be prepared in all aspects of your life. The process of selecting a Medical Power of Attorney is simple to arrange but will save you loads of trouble if the need arises in the future. Call to arrange a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.

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