What is a Health Care Proxy you ask? Well, it is a document that tells the medical professionals what you want done, in the event you cannot speak for yourself. It is one of THE MOST important tools in your Care Plan Tool Box.
This is a simple document to complete. If you have been to an attorney and have a Trust or Living Will, you probably have this and don’t realize it is in there. Trust me, unless you went to a Cracker Jack Box attorney, you have this and the Financial Durable Power of Attorney in place. Check it out and see if it isn’t there. Here is where to start.
In the event it isn’t in there, or in the event you don’t have a Trust, or have never seen an Elder Law Attorney to put your affairs in order, this one document should be done immediately.
Have you ever heard the name Terri Schiavo? Well, look it up. This story, if nothing else, should give you the impetus to get out and get a Health Care Proxy form filled out ASAP.
You can get one from the Hospital in member services, if you are with an HMO or a PPO, like Kaiser or, Hills Physicians (here in the Sacramento area). But if not, you can get one from an office supply, stationary store, even on line. Some primary care physicians have them too.
If you can’t find one, never fear, we can always email one to you.
What this document tells the Emergency Responders, like Paramedics, EMT’s, ER physicians, and all hospital personnel, is what you want and don’t want done. For example, if you want to be resuscitated, brought back to life if you should stop breathing. Or, if you want a feeding tube or a breathing tube should you have a life altering event happen where you are in a coma, like Terri Schiavo was.
If you are 90 years old and you don’t want to have someone pounding on your chest or cracking your ribs to bring you back, then you are what is known as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). You have choices and only you can make them.
You chose a person you trust to be your voice, usually a family member or close friend. You write it down on this document and you sign it. You need two non-related witnesses, and it is complete. You can have it notarized but, the two witnesses will suffice.
Some of the other things you can add are, if you want to be an organ donor, or if you want medications to extend life, such as antibiotics etc. All of the information that you want known should be on this document.
If you have any questions or concerns about this please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to answer. But please if you don’t have one, get it done!
Next up will be LTC insurance so stay tuned…