Home Crossroads All About the Healthcare Power of Attorney

All About the Healthcare Power of Attorney

Hospital visit

The healthcare power of attorney is the person who’s called when mom is in the hospital, who will make medical decisions for care at an assisted living community. They’re asked to make decisions if mom becomes incoherent and is unable to speak for herself. For instance, if she’s medically unable to sign the paperwork to get rehab after an accident, the power of attorney would come and sign that paperwork for it.

Kelley Smith at CarePartners Senior Living provides an interesting example: the amount of antibiotics given to a patient during hospitalization led to kidney issues. The patient wasn’t in a state of mind to sign paperwork, so the power of attorney was needed to approve a surgery to put in a stent for use in kidney dialysis, and then sign off on the dialysis. The healthcare power of attorney if faced with the choice of doing it to save their life, or not doing it, and facing the consequences. Maybe you don’t want them to go through more procedures, more pain, but you’re responsible for the outcome, the resulting quality of life. It’s a profound responsibility.

Kelley and Suzanne remind everyone that you should talk to an elder law attorney or an estate planning attorney about getting paperwork filled out.