Virginia Elder Law

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Have You Thought About Appointing a Healthcare Agent or Power of Attorney?

Before being deployed overseas for the Iraq war in 2003, Army reservist Don Morrison filled out military forms that gave instructions about where to send his body and possessions if he were killed.

"I thought, 'Wow, this is mortality right in your face,'" Morrison, now 70, recalls. After that, his attention was keenly focused on how things might end badly. Morrison asked his lawyer to draw up an advance medical directive to describe what medical care he wanted if he were unable to make his own decisions.

One document, typically called a Living will, spells out Morrison's preferences for life-sustaining medical treatment, such as ventilators and feeding tubes. The other, called a Health Care Proxy or Health Care Power of Attorney names a friend to make treatment decisions for him if he were to become incapacitated.

Not everyone is so motivated to tackle these issues. Even though Health Care Power of Attorneys and Advance Medical Directives have been promoted by health professionals for nearly 50 years, only about a third of U.S. adults have them, according to a recent study. To read the complete article courtesy of NPR, click here.


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