The Advance Healthcare Directive (or Medical Power of Attorney) 

How Do I Plan Ahead for Healthcare Decisions?

 

There are two important components involved in planning for healthcare decisions.  The first step is finding an experienced attorney you trust who can guide you through your options. The next step is preparing an Advance Healthcare Directive, commonly known as a Durable Medical Power of Attorney. The Advance Healthcare Directive will allow you to specify your end of life medical wishes, as well as appoint someone who is to be your trusted agent to speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself regarding health care decisions.

The advance healthcare directive expresses your wishes regarding medical decisions. If you are unable to communicate due to a serious illness or injury this document will clarify your desires to family members and health care professionals.  The person you appoint to speak for you (your agent), should be able to let your doctors know what your specific wishes are relating to health care decisions.

Why do I need an Advance Healthcare Directive?

The improvements in medical science have made it possible to keep a person alive even when the brain is at a low functioning level, thereby diminishing the person’s ability to make his or her own healthcare decisions. If extensive care and rehabilitation are called for, someone must be able to apply for public and private benefits that will pay for the cost of care.  And determining the appropriate residential setting for long term care is an important decision.

The courts can be asked to appoint a guardian to make these decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.  But intervention by the court can be very time-consuming and expensive, let alone emotionally difficult for you and your family. The Advance Directive names a surrogate health care decision maker who can act during the periods when you cannot make your own decisions.  

As an experienced Elder Law Attorney, I routinely advise clients about the issues they need to consider in order to make sure their wishes for medical treatment will be followed.  During your initial consultation, you will be advised about the choices available to you under California laws. There are a variety of factors that can go in to health care decision making, and numerous medical treatment options that are available to meet your individual needs. You will receive personal advice and guidance about who can or should be named as your health care agent. Together, we will discuss the options available to yo, which will allow us to create documents that are tailored to your needs and will give you and your family peace of mind.

Call our Walnut Creek Elder Law Firm at 925-322-1763 to schedule your free consultation today.