Health Care Power Of Attorney
A Health Care Power Of Attorney is a written document authorizing someone you name as your “agent” (also referred to as “attorney-in-fact”) to make health care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to communicate for yourself or otherwise make your own health care decisions under specified circumstances. Although a Health Care Power Of Attorney and an Advanced Health Care Directive (“AHCD”) can work in tandem, they do not serve the same purpose, and it is best to have both. The key difference between a Health Care Power of Attorney and an AHCD is that an AHCD only applies in situation where your death is inevitable through a terminal condition or when you are permanently unconscious; it has no relevance to any other type of incapacity or situation.
A Health Care Power Of Attorney works much like a Durable General Power Of Attorney in that you grant powers to your agent, but in this case it is limited to making health care decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. These powers can include the authority to: consent to treatment; refuse treatment; withdraw treatment; act in contradiction to medical advice; discharge any health care provider; and discharge you from a health care facility.