Power of Attorney & Patient Advocate
We all want to make our own decisions about the medical treatment we receive. Sometimes a medical condition might prevent us from making those decisions. That's why it's important to have an Advance Directive.
Your Advance Directive should:
- Describe the type of medical care you want
- Describe the type of medical care you do not want
- State who you want to make decisions about your care if you cannot
- Be reviewed once a year
If you become unable to make your own medical decisions, you want to make sure someone you trust can make decisions for you. You will name that person in a document called a Durable Power of Attorney.
Choosing Your Patient Advocate
The person you choose to make decisions is called a patient advocate. A patient advocate should be:
- At least 18 years old
- Able to make important decisions
- Aware of your wishes and willing to follow them
To be a patient advocate, a person must sign an acceptance form. What Decisions Can a Patient Advocate Make? The patient advocate only makes decisions when you can’t. You can give your patient advocate the power to:
- Consent to or refuse medical treatment
- Arrange for home healthcare
- Admit you to a nursing home
- Withhold treatment or food and water
Creating a Durable Power of Attorney
There is no standard form for a Durable Power of Attorney document. You can use Bronson’s form, write your own or have a lawyer create one for you. A Durable Power of Attorney must be signed by you and witnessed by two adults. Witnesses cannot be:
- A family member
- The patient advocate
- An employee of the healthcare facility where you are a patient
If you have questions, call Medical Social Work at (269) 341-7943.