Who would you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you were incapacitated? This is the question that often goes unanswered due to procrastination. If you are thinking of preparing a living will, you also need to complete a medical power of attorney form.
A medical power of attorney form is a necessary compliment to a living will. Your living will makes your wishes known when you are unable to speak for your self and the power of attorney appoints the speaker.
There are several things to consider when naming a health care surrogate. First, you will need to have trust that the person named in your medical power of attorney forms will be able to follow your wishes as you have indicated. You not only need to take into consideration your surrogates potential emotional state, but also their ability to communicate effectively with health care providers and other concerned parties, namely your family who you did not appoint as your health care surrogate.
Choose wisely who will have medical power of attorney
You can always amend your medical power of attorney forms, but it’s easier to make the right choice to begin with. Before naming a health care surrogate, it’s recommended that you have a discussion with your potential choice and let them know that you would like to name them as a health care surrogate.
Reviewing your living will with your candidate to let them know ahead of time exactly what type of medical procedures you would like and which procedures you would like withheld will give a you a clear idea whether or not they would be comfortable speaking on your behalf.
Once you have named someone as your medical power of attorney, you need to keep them apprised of any changes you may make to your living will. As technology changes, you may want to amend your living will from time too time and your health care surrogate needs to be kept abreast of any changes.
If your health care surrogate is not a regular part of your life, like someone other than your spouse or one of your children, you need to stay in contact to make sure they are still able to perform their duties.
Also if your relationship changes with your health care surrogate you should amend your medical power of attorney form. You may not want your former spouse or someone with who your relationship has soured calling the shots.
Consider appointing two people to have medical power of attorney
It may be a good idea to appoint two health care surrogates. This way, if one is unable to fulfill their duties, you will have the second. Also, it could also work as a checks and balances system to make sure that your wishes are followed to the letter.
Whether you choose one or two health care surrogates, make an informed choice and don’t procrastinate when it comes to naming a medical power of attorney.