Health Care Proxy (HCP):
Review your HCP to confirm that it identifies current designations of those who you want making health care decisions for you if/when you can no longer make or communicate on your own. It can only benefit you to list appointees to serve in consecutive order. Ask your attorney whether additional provisions to your document would be prudent. For example: do you have a religious belief that needs to be articulated? Would you allow certain drugs to be administered that might otherwise require court approval? Do you want your health care agent to choose a nursing home for you if it become necessary?
Once signed, provide your HCP to your health care providers and hospitals. Keep an extra copy in your car or with your other important papers And, of course, provide a copy of your HCP to those you have appointed as decision makers.
Without an HCP, if health care decisions need to be made for you, a court will appoint a guardian to make decisions for you. Your spouse does not automatically have the right. The benefit of an HCP is that you get to choose those individuals who you trust to make decisions for you as you would want for yourself, as opposed to having a court choose.
Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR):
This document is not prepared by your attorney. It is available to be signed in your physician’s office, and it merely states that if your heart stops, you do not want extraordinary measures taken to re-start it.
Lisa L. Halbert, Esq.
Image credit: Kyle Taylor, Dream It. Do It. World Tour, under Creative Commons license