Glossary: Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney is a legal instrument that names a single person the medical agent of another individual. The representative has the capability to make health care choices and the obligation to ensure physicians and other health care workers supply essential and appropriate care according to the patient’s desires. This includes end-of-life choices for medical care.

Picking a person for a health care power of attorney is an important choice. Ideally, this person is comfortable around physicians and is ready to ask needed questions to comprehend the situation, potential outcomes and issues. The representative also needs to have the capability to perform the client’s desires and not let individual feelings get in the way.

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It is a good idea to talk frequently with the appointed health care agent. Representatives who comprehend the desires of the patient are better prepared to perform the desired wishes than somebody with a cursory knowledge of the individual. If the primary appointee does not desire to or can not do the decisions, some individuals likewise pick a backup agent who takes over.

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