Healthcare Power of Attorney and the Living Will

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When people are preparing their estate plan, there are a number of factors to consider. One of those factors is medical care in case one becomes disabled or incapacitated. Legal documents are necessary if you want someone else to make decisions for you when you cannot speak or communicate for yourself The following will discuss the advance directives, including healthcare power of attorney, living will, and DNR (do not resuscitate).

The Three Types of Advanced Directives

  1. Healthcare Power of Attorney

The Healthcare Power of Attorney, sometimes referred to as a Medical Directive in Arizona, is a legal document sanctioned by Arizona’s Legislature that allows an individual to appoint another individual to make and manage healthcare decisions for them in case they cannot do it for themselves>The Healthcare Power of Attorney is only valid after the individual (the Grantor) is unable to make his or her own decisions regarding their medical care. Otherwise, it is just a piece of paper.

Picture by Twinfisch on UnSplash

What is included in the medical decisions power of attorney?

  • The authority to consent to surgery
  • The authority to look at medical records
  • The authority to subvert a living will
  • The authority to put an individual in the hospital or a nursing facility
  • The authority to sit in on or have medical consultations with doctors and other healthcare providers
  • The authority to appoint a guardian where applicable
  1. The Living Will

The Living Will is a statement of an individual’s concept of their right to die and their request that their wishes govern over their medical care according to the Living Will. It’s a statement that might say something like, “I believe in the sanctity of life, but if I ever fall ill with a terminal illness, I want to have comfort care only,” or “Even if I become terminally ill, I want extreme measures taken to preserve my life.”

The difference between a healthcare power of attorney and the living will is that the living will is a statement of your philosophy regarding the right-to-life issue while the medical power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint someone to manage that ideal for you if you cannot.

  1. DNR Directive

DNRs aren’t necessary for everyone. If you’re strong and healthy, you are not likely to need a DNR (do not resuscitate).

Who are DNRs appropriate for?

  • Those who have been injured due to CPR because they are very ill
  • Those who are terminally ill and don’t want to be saved in case of an emergency
  • Those who are very weak and sickly

What does DNR include?

No efforts to resuscitate an individual via the following:

  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Cardiac compressions
  • Defibrillation
  • Artificial ventilation
  • Endotracheal intubation or another airway treatment
  • Any related emergency medical procedures
  • The administration of advanced cardiac life support medications

However, the person can be made comfortable using medical interventions such as oxygen, intravenous fluids, and other therapies that offer pain relief or comfort.

DNRs must be signed by a physician after a consult. People with DNRs may be wearing a state-compliant bracelet on their ankle or wrist. They have to be printed on an orange background and bold type with the words “Do Not Resuscitate” along with the patient’s name and physician’s information.

Final Thoughts

It is important to know the differences between these advanced directives so that you can feel confident that you have made the appropriate decision for yourself.

Call 480-454-1515 today to schedule a free consultation about your medical directives and your estate planning needs.

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