What is a healthcare power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a special document that allows someone else to make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself. This is different from a durable power of attorney for finances. A durable power of attorney for healthcare does not allow someone else to control and dispose of your assets or execute legal documents. The individual you give the power to decide about your healthcare is your attorney-in-fact for healthcare purposes. He or she must follow the directions you state in your durable power of attorney for healthcare. These directions generally allow your agent to consent, refuse or take away any care, treatment, service or procedure. The attorney-in-fact also must follow your wishes in your Tennessee living will. If you do not have a living will, the attorney-in-fact may make choices for you.
If I have a durable healthcare power of attorney, what’s next?
You should tell your doctor, family, friends and other healthcare providers that you have a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Your durable power of attorney for healthcare must be documented in your personal medical record. Give your doctor a copy and tell hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and home healthcare agencies that you have these documents when you are admitted. Do not provide these documents to a healthcare provider before you are a patient. Under this document you retain the right at any time to take away your agent’s authority.