How to protect one’s rights in making medical decisions Health Care Proxies

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Throughout life, there are sacrifices everyone must make; however, with the proper planning one need not forego their ability to make medical decisions as a consequence of a catastrophic illness or end of life crisis.  Specifically, a Health Care Proxy, also known as a durable medical power of attorney, is a legal document through which one can designate an individual to carry out their medical treatment wishes in the event he or she is unconscious or their mental state is such that they would not legally be allowed to make decisions.

When selecting someone to act as proxy, there are important considerations such as whether personal or religious views the person being named has that might prevent them from carrying out your wishes.  By documenting one’s preferences legally, this ensures that your health care provider and proxy know exactly what your wishes are, provides protection of the decisions you have made and prevents loved ones from being faced with difficult and painful decisions.


Some key points to include in preparing for a medical crisis 

While a health care proxy can be as broad or specific as one decides and it is difficult to provide specific instructions for all possible future events it is possible to highlight one’s wishes.  Following is a listing of considerations that should be included when planning for the eventuality of a catastrophic event and/or end of life crisis:

  • Antibiotics administration
  • Dialysis
  • Transplantation
  • Blood transfusions
  • Life support initiated, continued or discontinued
  • Life Sustaining Treatment
  • Nutrition and hydration (nourishment and water provided via feeding tube and intravenous line)
  • Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR)
  • Artificial respiration
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Electro convulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Surgical procedures
  • Organ and/or tissue donation + limitation  

With advancements in medical science allowing for longer life spans there are instances in which one might not want life prolonged including circumstances that include persistent vegetative state, minimally conscious state or brain disease with no chance of recovery.  Some might want heroic measures while others prefer the security of knowing their life will not be prolonged by artificial means.  Without the benefit of a Health Care Proxy and someone who knows your specific wishes, you risk not being able to make final decisions.  Thus the reason I always encourage clients to legally prepare for any eventuality.  Not does a Health Care Proxy allow one to make their own medical and end of life decisions but this also protects a spouse from the financial devastation that can be brought on by years of artificial life support.

If you are in need of assistance with senior moving, downsizing, senior care, money management, senior law, estate management, medical equipment, home care, elder real estate sales or management, planning after life services, etc. please do not hesitate to call Advise & Protect Senior Care Consultants at 646-820-9202 so that we may aid in meeting your needs.


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