You should always have control over your health care decisions. Unfortunately, you could suffer from a condition that leaves you unable to speak for yourself. To prepare for this situation, you can enact a power of attorney to appoint an agent to choose treatment that you specify in the document. If you do not use this document to specify which treatments you want, a court could appoint your spouse, parents, an adult child, or adult siblings as your healthcare representative.
You can authorize your agent to take the following actions:
Admit or release you from healthcare facilities
Make anatomical gifts
Access your medical records
Withhold artificial nutrition or hydration, if you have an incurable illness that will result in death after a short period, and life-sustaining treatment is only forestalling death
Many people would prefer not to live in a state of permanent unconsciousness without any real independence, and a power of attorney can ensure that you will not have to. This document must also be signed in a notary public’s presence. You can revoke the power at any time by notifying your agent or healthcare provider verbally or in writing.
- Guide – http://www.in.gov/isdh/files/advanceddirectives.pdf
- Form – http://www.namibloomington.org/resources/Power_of_Attorney.pdf