3 Legal Documents That are Needed for Caregivers to Manage a Senior’s Healthcare

Planning for your elderly loved ones is a crucial task that guarantees their safety in preparation for the future. It is imperative that all of the documents are completed in a timely fashion so that they can be utilized when the time comes. Additionally, seniors must select trusted individuals to make decisions on their behalf once they are no longer able to do so. Due to the legality behind healthcare and medical practices the laws regarding the individuals who can receive updates on the senior are very specific. In order to partake in medical decisions and conversations with your loved one’s doctor you must have the eligible qualification that entrust you with such information. If you would like to be the one responsible for making medical decisions on the senior’s behalf, you should complete the proper documents that would grant you this authority. These documents will be supplied to you by an Elder Care attorney and you will be assisted in the task of filling them out completely. If you do not complete these documents prior to needing to make medical decisions on behalf of your loved one, then you must go to court to petition for guardianship. This is an absolute last effort that should be avoided at all costs, as it takes time away from your ability to make medical decisions for your loved one.

Most Important Documents for Managing a Senior’s Healthcare

Document #1: Power of Attorney

A power of attorney gives an individual the right to act on your behalf. There are four types of power of attorney documents that are mostly commonly utilized. These include General Power of Attorney, which means the document comes to a close when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the agent for the power of attorney, or passes away.The power of attorney has the power to make medical decisions on behalf of the senior in need of care. A Durable Power of Attorney enables the agent to maintain power even once the person becomes incapacitated. This implies that they can make decisions for the senior even once the senior is not in a clear and present state of mind. A Special Power of Attorney gives the agent specific limited powers within a specific area. Lastly, a Springing Durable Power of Attorney comes into place when a specific event causes the principal to become incapacitated. This document must be prepared while the individual is still competent to ensure that the agent has the power to make all of these imperative decisions when the time comes .A Power of Attorney allows the principal to appoint a specific agent who will act on their behalf in the case that they become incapacitated. Therefore, this individual must prioritize the needs and preferences of the principal by making imperative decisions. These decisions pertain to finances, healthcare, recommending a guardian, etc. This ensures that your loved one’s wishes are met through the guarantee of financial security and effective healthcare choices when the principal becomes unable to make the decisions on their own.

Document #2: HIPAA Authorization Form

The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. This form guarantees that an individual’s health information and records will remain private under the legal jurisdiction of the act. With the presence of this form medical professionals are unable to share any information regarding your health or status to others without legal consent in written form. However, if your name is stated in the form then the doctor has the right to inform you of the patient’s care. If your name is written in the form it implies that you are an approved family member and therefore eligible to ask any questions and receive all medical information regarding the care and status of your loved one. The individual receiving the care must sign the HIPPA form in order to give consent for family members to be involved in the medical decision process. Only the minimum information necessary will be communicated, so do not worry about all of your information being communicated. Therefore, you are greatly encouraged to complete this form to ensure that you are authorized and eligible to receive updates on your loved one’s medical status.

Document #3: Advance Healthcare Directive 

This document is a perfect preparation for the foreseeable future, as it serves a similar purpose to a will document. The individual communicates their healthcare preferences in the case that they become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for themselves. This document dictates directions for the medical power of attorney to follow to ensure that the senior’s best interest is prioritized. In the case that the patient is in need of resuscitation, this document should state whether resuscitation should occur or if the patient wishes not to be resuscitated. All of the serious medical decisions concerning life support and the decision to donate organs are stated within the document to guarantee that the patient is treated in the exact manner he would have preferred if he were able to make his own decisions in the moment.Be sure to discuss all of the potential medical necessities and healthcare issues with your loves one, so that you are fully aware of their wishes and best interests.  An attorney can assist you with drafting a valid Advance Healthcare Directive that will abide by your state’s laws. Take the time now to best prepare for your loved one’s future by planning for their healthcare in advance. 

Although it may be difficult to come up with a way to discuss the topic with your loved ones, the conversation is definitely worth having. The best way to begin this conversation would be to state that you are interested in creating a healthcare plan for your future and would like some advice. During this process, your elderly loved ones will realize that they too are in need of Elder Care Planning. This will be the perfect moment to take note of their preferences and desires regarding the manner in which they wish to be cared for. Schedule an appointment with your local Elder Care Attorney to begin the journey of planning for a better future. The attorney will provide a detailed outline of all the steps and documents you must follow and complete. You will be guided throughout the entire process and will have all of the support necessary because growing older should not be an end to your journey, rather just a stepping stone. 

For further Elder Care Planning information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to effectively plan for your elderly loved one’s future.