Q: What are the different kinds of Medical Directives?
A: There are several kinds:
- An Advanced Directive or Living Will allows you to document your wishes concerning medical treatments at the end of life.
- A Medical Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate allows you to appoint a person you trust as your health care agent, who is authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Q: Is this legal?
A: Medical Directives are legally valid throughout the United States. The laws governing Medical Directives vary from state to state, so Clearwater Notary and Weddings has generic forms that comply fully with Florida’s state law.
Q: Who should have a copy?
A: Keep the original and give copies to your agent and alternate agents, family and doctors and have it placed in your medical record.
Q: Who should be my agent?
A: Your health care agent should be a person whom you trust, who knows your wishes about medical treatment and who is willing to take responsibility to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to your agent about your wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment. Even family members may not know how much treatment a loved one would be willing to accept near the end of life.
Q: How do I make sure my wishes are followed?
A: Your agent can advocate for you. If health care providers resist following your wishes, your agent can negotiate with them and take any other necessary steps to see that your wishes are honored. In most states, your agent can can negotiate with them and take any other necessary steps to see that your wishes are honored. In most states, your agent can make decisions any time you lose the ability to make a medical decision, not just decisions about the end of life.
Q: What should my agent do?
A: Your agent should take the following steps:
- Establish communication with the doctorand identify the attending physician.
- Be assertive in expressing your wishes. Clearly state your expectations without being hostile.
- Learn as much as possible about your condition and prognosis.
- Ask about the goals of the treatment plan- a physician’s definition of recovery can be different from what is acceptable to you
- Some providers may have a hard time withholding or withdrawing treatments. Seek the assistance of a social worker or patient representative.
- Don’t be afraid to speak to the facility’s administration. If the physician is unresponsive, go directly to his or her superiors, including the chief of medicine, risk manager, hospital lawyer or administrator.