There may come a time when you’re unable to make important decisions about your health care. For instance, if you’re incapacitated by illness or injury and can’t communicate to medical staff, your wishes regarding health care may be ignored. That’s where a power of attorney comes in. This is a person you appoint to speak on your behalf and ensure your desires regarding end-of-life care are honored. Very Well Health explains what to look for when choosing a power of attorney.
First and foremost, the person should be responsible and trustworthy. You want to rest assured that he or she will be able and willing to carry out his duties when the time comes. The person should also share your values and beliefs, or at least be able to set aside differences of opinion to honor your wishes. Trust is a huge concern when making these decisions and you want to ensure that you trust your selection implicitly.
Next, the person will do well with some level of medical knowledge. Understanding diagnoses and treatments in a fast-paced health care environment can be confusing. This is especially true when a person is being provided with emergency care, where decisions will need to be made immediately. The person may also need to ask questions about test results, while also having a good understanding of your condition. Along with knowledge, questioning medical staff requires a level of assertiveness that not all people possess.
Finally, the person should live relatively close to you and your desired health care facility. While this is more of a practical concern, it’s important for your power of attorney to be accessible and available when the time comes. You’ll want the person to be able to arrive at the facility immediately when needed, and someone who lives out of state will not be able to do so.