Health Care Power of Attorney / Patient Advocate Designation
As with planning for authority over finances, planning may also be made for the possibility of health care needs or living arrangements should a person become incapable of giving direction. This complicated-sounding document is really a simple concept.
The Health Care Power of Attorney:
Designates a person to make your health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. Most people don’t think that this will happen to them, but it happens more often than you would think.
May state your wishes regarding organ donation.
Is authorized by Michigan law and when properly completed, the person you have chosen (your Patient Advocate), speaks for you when you are not able to communicate your own wishes.
A Patient Advocate:
Only has the authority to act for you while you are unable to communicate. If you get better, their authority ends.
Does not have the authority to end medical treatment if it is likely to cause your death, unless you have specifically given the patient advocate the authority to also make life and death decisions for you. This must be spelled out in your Health Care Power of Attorney.
Many Health Care Power of Attorney documents contain a Living Will provision. This section gives your wishes and preferences regarding end-of life care, and can serve as a valuable guide for your Patient Advocate. After you sign it, give a copy to your doctor and other regular medical care providers.