Your Power of Choice Over Health Care Decisions
You have the ability to choose your doctor, to take medication, to have surgery, and whether or not you want to receive medical treatment. But what happens if you’re involved in a serious car accident that leaves you in a coma with no hope of recovering or if you have Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer make your own health care decisions? Who would make these important decisions about your medical treatment? Do your family and physicians already know your wishes? Probably not, and if you’re like most people, you might have not put much thought into it before.
Advanced directives were created specifically to make your wishes known! Advanced directives are documents that you fill out ahead of time and they make sure that your health care wishes are known and respected. In Arizona there are several forms of advanced directives that are recognized and these include living wills, durable power of attorney for health care, and the Arizona Department of Public Health (IDPH) Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive.
Living Will – The living will allows you to specify in advance if you do not wish to receive health care treatment should you suffer from an incurable disease or irreversible injury, disease or illness and are not capable of making health care decisions for yourself.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – This allows you to specify in advance who should make health care treatment decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of making these decisions for yourself.
Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive – The Illinois Department of Public Health Uniform Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Advance Directive allows you to make an advance decision about receiving CPR if your heart or breathing stops. In the absence of a DNR, health care professionals will automatically start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when someone’s heartbeat or breathing stops.
Need an attorney for estate planning?
In Arizona all powers of attorney are automatically durable (by law) unless the document states that the power of attorney is not durable. There are two types of powers of attorney, one is for health and personal care issues and the other is for financial issues. Because a power of attorney empowers someone else to manage your health or financial decisions if you become unable to, it’s important to choose someone that you completely trust with your health and your wealth.