Making important health care decisions on behalf of a loved one can be a mentally and emotionally exhausting responsibility. If you are named as an agent in someone’s Durable Health Care Power of Attorney you will have to make critical health care decisions, sometimes life-or-death decisions, for your loved one.
Here are 5 tips that may help you if you are serving as a health care decision-maker:
- Understand their current medical condition, diagnosis, prognosis and prescribed care. You may be the one called upon to give a complete medical picture if the individual cannot speak for themselves.
- Keep a copy of the Health Care Power of Attorney in a safe, accessible place so you can quickly access it and provide it to treatment providers.
- Keep a record of current prescriptions, dietary restrictions, contact information of treatment providers, upcoming appointments and anything someone may need should something happen to you to make you unavailable. You want the successor agent to be able to step in and pick up immediately.
- Have the tough conversations with the person you are assisting so that you know what decisions they would want you to make. If they do not draft a living will or advance directives, it’s important for you to attempt to discuss these issues to learn their wishes.
- Consult others for advice. Get second opinions and do appropriate research to make sure you are making solid decisions that are in the best interests of the patient.
If you have any questions about serving as a health care agent and you live in the Greater Baltimore area, please call 443-470-3599 to schedule a consultation.