Personal power: it’s something we take for granted. We make our own decisions every day, from what to have for breakfast to where to live. But what if you found yourself in a position in which your personal power has been taken away? For example, a medical emergency could land you in the hospital. In this scenario, it’s very important to maintain the position of “calling the shots.” However, if you’re unable to for any reason, you must have an advocate who will.
We don’t usually sit and think about possibilities like this unless we’re dealing with a disease or long-term illness. It may be unpleasant to ponder, but drawing up a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will is just important as paying your car, health and life insurance every month. It’s also a very basic part of self-care, just like visiting a doctor once a year for a check-up.
Planning for the unexpected will not only make sure you are taken care of, but will take the confusion out of these situations for your loved ones. I have heard countless stories of someone falling ill suddenly or having something go wrong with a routine procedure. Without a Medical Power of Attorney, your healthcare decisions may be left in the hands of doctors who do not know you, as opposed to someone who knows you well and will make the decisions that are best for you and in line with your wishes.
These documents are readily available on the Internet and from area hospitals in most states and can be notarized and filed with the person you have chosen, as well as with your lawyer. In fact, you can have your Medical Power of Attorney put on file with any hospital that you wish! It’s a simple process, but may end up taking the complexity out of a sudden and dire situation.
- General Medical Power of Attorney Form (State-specific forms are available on the Internet and from your area hospitals)
- Living Will Forms (Advanced Directives) Listed by State
- Do Not Resuscitate Forms Listed by State