A power of attorney is simply a directive that names someone you trust to act as your agent in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. A medical power of attorney, also called an “advance directive,” names someone to specifically act on your behalf in regards to any medical matters.
If you or a family member is suffering from Alzheimer’s or another dementia-related disease, it is important to have a medical power of attorney. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the kinds of medical decisions covered by a power of attorney for health care includes: doctors and health care providers, types of treatment, and care facilities. The designated medical power of attorney may also need to make some end-of-life decisions such as issuing a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order or not consenting to a feeding tube when a person reaches the later stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
The website, WebMD suggests that a person entrusted to be your medical power of attorney should be someone “who is not intimidated by medical professionals and is willing to ask challenging questions,” They also add that the person needs to be able to put aside their own feeling about a medical option and be ready to carry out your wishes.
Drawing up a legal power of attorney for health care does not require an attorney, and if it is appropriate, the same person can be named as your financial and medical power of attorney. As forms are state-specific, be sure to use the right form for your state. Once you have filled it out, it will probably need to be witnessed, and in some cases may also need to be notarized. When you have completed the process, let your family and anyone else involved in your care, including your doctor and hospital, have a copy of the form.
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Sources: alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-legal-documents.asp, webmd.com/palliative-care/advance-directives-medical-power-attorney