When it comes to managing your healthcare, the law makes it very clear about who can and cannot receive updates on your status, talk to medical professionals about your care, and help make critical medical decisions. These laws help protect your private information, but they also can make it difficult for your loved ones to help care for you.
Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your caregivers will have access to your records and be able to make decisions on your behalf when the time comes. Still, you must establish these legal permissions before they are needed.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they need legal documents to be able to help with the care of a loved one until it is too late.
Here are three documents you should consider having drafted to ensure that your caregivers have the authority to receive information and to make decisions for you when you are unable:
- HIPAA Authorization Form – The HIPAA Act was enacted to keep medical information and records private. Upon execution of the document, you authorize doctors and other medical professionals to share important information with approved agents.
- Power of Attorney – You may also hear this referred to as a durable power of attorney. It is a legal document that enables you to appoint a trusted friend or relative to handle transactions and make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to act independently. In many instances, having a power of attorney helps prevent a loved one or caregiver from becoming financially responsible for your debts or liabilities.
- Advanced Health Care Directive: You have probably also heard this document be referred to as a living will. It lets you record your wishes for end-of-life care. A living will spells out specific treatments that you can either accept or decline under specific circumstances. A living will provides comfort to the decision-maker, as it gives reassurance that your wishes are honored.
Once a healthcare emergency occurs, it’s usually too late to create these documents. Avoid unnecessary confusion and stress for your loved ones by talking to them now and getting these documents in place.