An Advanced Healthcare Directive which some call a Power of Attorney for Health Care, is a legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment. Healthcare power of attorney becomes active when a person is unable to make decisions or consciously communicate intentions regarding treatments.
A person needs a Power of Attorney for Health Care if they wish to give an individual authority to interpret their wishes including the following: Agree to, refuse or withdraw consent to any type of medical care, treatment surgical procedures, tests or medications.
- Have access to medical records and information to the same extent the patient is entitled to, including the right to disclose health information to others.
- Authorize admission to or discharge (even against medical advice) from any hospital, nursing home, residential care or assisted living.
- Contract for any health care related service or facility for or apply for public or private health care benefits.
- Hire or fire medical, social service and other support personnel.
- Authorize participation in medical research related to patient’s medical condition.
- Agree or refuse using any medication or procedure intended to relieve pain or discomfort, even thought that use may lead to physical dependence or damage or hasten death.
- Decide about organ and tissue donations, autopsy and the disposition of remains.
- Take any other action necessary to sign waivers or other documents, pursue dispute resolutions or take legal action.
This also allows the person to determine what their end of life decisions are, whether to be kept alive on machines or allowed to die naturally