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health care power of attorney

Senior Citizens and Medical Emergencies: What You Should Know

health care power of attorney

There are so many things to consider in your golden years, from long-term care to wills and trusts. The number of things to set up, monitor, and update can feel overwhelming! Fortunately, Bradford & Holliman is here to help.

Keep reading to learn about two things every senior citizen should know when it comes to medical emergencies.

The Importance of a Health Care Power of Attorney

It’s one thing if you or your spouse are conscious and able to make an informed decision about your emergency. If you seem to be in a stable, lucid state of mind, the hospital staff and your physician will listen to your wishes. But if you are unconscious or otherwise not able to make an informed decision, things become a little more complicated.

This is where a health care power of attorney (otherwise known as a medical power of attorney or advance directive) becomes essential. A health care power of attorney gives you the ability to name someone else who will act on your behalf (as your agent or proxy) regarding medical decisions.

It’s important to note that each state has different laws, which means the way a health care power of attorney functions will vary depending on location. Additionally, if you become able to communicate at a later time, your word will take precedence over the advance directive.

Creating a Living Will

It’s vital that you and your spouse draw up a living will or advance health care directive so that, in the event you are incapable of communication at the hospital, you will have a document that outlines your wishes in such a situation.

So, what’s the point of having someone act as your agent for medical decisions? Doesn’t the advance health care directive serve that purpose on its own?

Yes and no. If your physician determines that you are not able to express your wishes, he or she will go to the advance health care directive and use those terms as guidelines for how to proceed. However, the person you have appointed to act on your behalf is still very important because they will ensure that your wishes are carried out appropriately. It’s an extra layer of supervision during a very emotional, stressful time, and it gives your family members a sense of peace because they know your wishes have been honored.

Bradford & Holliman Can Assist You!

Establishing a health care power of attorney isn’t something to be put off. Imagine if you were incapacitated in the hospital, and your family had no way of knowing whether or not you wanted to be put on life support. Would you want them to face such a decision on their own? Of course not!

It’s best to set up your health care power of attorney now, while you’re able to think through all the details and make informed choices. We can walk you through every step of the process to make sure your wishes are followed in the event of a medical emergency. Contact us today!