National Healthcare Decisions Day
April 16th is designated as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) to highlight the importance of advanced health care decision making. Making healthcare decisions *before* an actual medical emergency is critical. It means those taking care of you – both your loved ones and medical professionals – can make informed decisions about your care, following your guidance and wishes along the way.
We have been supporting our clients’ healthcare wishes for more than ten years by providing comprehensive estate plans that include documents for healthcare decisions clients need in a medical emergency. These can include a healthcare power of attorney, living will, and HIPAA authorizations, among others.
Our firm has always stressed the value of these documents and emphasized to clients the importance of talking to their family about their wishes. We understand these conversations can be uncomfortable and challenging but by talking about what you want before something happens, it can make future difficult situations much easier. It is a real gift to the family.
So, what are these documents?
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney names the person you would like to step in and make medical decisions for you in the event you are no longer able to make them for yourself (your agent). Naming your agent in advance means your loved ones will not have to go to Probate Court. This can be a time-consuming, costly ordeal of getting guardianship papers, conservatorship papers, or a court order an institution may require in lieu of the Power of Attorney document.
- A Living Will or Advanced Directive provides guidance and instructions to your agent about the kinds of care you would like to receive under various circumstances. For instance, it dictates when or if you would like to be resuscitated, receive artificial nutrition, mechanical breathing, invasive tests, medication to manage pain, among other decisions. Sharing these wishes with your agent helps ensure you are getting the treatments you want while also easing potential burdens on your loved ones.
- HIPAA Authorizations tell medical care providers who can have access to your medical information, enabling loved ones and your agent, to make informed decisions for you in the event of an emergency.
We also take our commitment to advanced planning further by making sure that clients’ healthcare directives are immediately available to family members, the hospital, or physician’s office in an emergency. We provide a membership to DocuBank, which allows clients to have access to their Power of Attorney, medical directives, and other critical medical information around the clock, just by carrying a wallet card.
We are glad National Healthcare Decisions Day leads to thoughts and conversations about healthcare decisions. Having swift and immediate access to well-drafted healthcare directives in a medical emergency can reduce stress on patients, hospital staff, and most importantly, loved ones. This is why we are participating in NHDD 2021. We want to help make sure that everyone has protected themselves and those they love by completing advance directives.
In honor of NHDD, please contact our office at (248) 409-0256 to see how we can provide information and tools for you to talk about your wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers. We can also assist with the execution of written advance directives, healthcare power of attorney and HIPAA authorizations in accordance with Michigan state laws.