A medical power of attorney is a document that dictates the person responsible for a person’s healthcare if the said person becomes incapacitated. If someone named you an agent, it is a major responsibility.
Following your loved one’s instructions and lead can help you manage the responsibility better.
Follow your loved one’s instructions
When creating a power of attorney, your loved one should leave detailed instructions on their preferences regarding medical care. Instructions may include procedures that he or she does not want and resuscitation and life support details. When named as an agent, ask your loved one to make detailed plans, so you do not have to question what he or she wanted. Additionally, having the instructions written will help you defend your choices if any other family members try to argue over what your loved one would want.
Have discussions in advance
Talk with the person as soon as possible. While it can be challenging to talk about the possibility of your loved one not having the ability to make decisions for him or herself, you need to have a clear idea of his or her intent. Even when you have a close relationship with someone, you cannot guarantee that you understand his or her values regarding healthcare. Learn the values and clearly understand how you can respect your loved one’s wishes if anything happens. You cannot plan for every event, but having a conversation can help you understand not only his or her wishes but why the person chose you.
To be a good agent for your loved one, you must know how to advocate for him or her.