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Power of Attorney for Medical Care

November 11, 2014
By Minnie E. Miller & Guest Writer

I have a Power of Attorney for Medical Care. The four-page document sits next to my purse within reach at all times. I also have a Do Not Resuscitate Directive if my heart and breathing stop.

My agents are one of my nephews and my niece as second. I mailed copies by certified mail. To be honest, neither relative wanted to discuss the document when they received it. My nephew said he will read it later and asked if I was of sound mind when I wrote it. I had to laugh. There in could lay the problem, especially if I am in the hospital unable to speak. My niece has said nothing. Nevertheless, the document contains my wishes and is legal even if no one speaks on my behalf.

A brief history of family and me: I am single and seventy-seven years old; live alone; divorced; and childless. My immediate adult family have their responsibilities and live in various other states.

No, I do not expect to die soon. Still, in the event something happens by accident, or because of health problems, I do not want my family to be at a loss handling my personal matters. Moreover, heaven knows they do not deserve the expense of closing out my life financially.

An Outpatient Care Manager, assigned by my retiring Doctor, gave me the Power of Attorney for Medical Care form. A completed copy is in the Doctor’s file. The Care Manager is a registered nurse and has access to my medical data (an innovation by Advocate Medical Group, my healthcare provider). She calls often to check on my health and answer any questions I may have. This is very comforting.

If my life changes for whatever reason, I can update the form and redistribute it same as before.

I know that some think the best-laid plans can go astray. Not a problem. I understand.

Below are excerpts from an article on Power of Attorney for Medical Care. Do not confuse the Medical Care document with a living-will regarding your personal possessions.

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Advocate Health Care: health enews Today – November 11, 2014

I’ve completed an advance medical directive…now what?
By: Jodie Futornick

Advance medical directives (Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care; Living Will; Five Wishes) are important documents that can offer both practical guidance and peace of mind for your loved ones and your health care providers in challenging circumstances. Writing an advance medical directive is an important first step in planning for your future health care needs. Learn to use them in a way that will be most helpful to you and those around you.

You and your agent (the person you have chosen to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so) should both keep your advance medical directives in a place that is readily accessible.

The most important component of an advance directive is not the formality of a piece of paper, but the ongoing conversations you have with your loved ones. Discuss your wishes, including your choice of agent and your treatment preferences, with your close family and friends.

Be sure your primary medical providers are aware of your wishes. Remember that the Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will, and Five Wishes documents are reflections of your preferences; they are not medical orders. If you have specific concerns regarding life-sustaining treatment (for example, a wish that you not be resuscitated if your heart and breathing stop), it is imperative that you discuss this with your doctor.

About the Author

Jodie Futornick

Rabbi Jodie Futornick is a staff chaplain and ethics consultant at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. She has a Masters’ degree in Bioethics and Healthcare Policy at Loyola University of Chicago and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the same institution. Jodie is fond of introducing herself as “a Jewish chaplain at a Protestant hospital with a degree from a Catholic university.”

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Note from me: Thank you for reading this important information. I hope it helps.


Minnie E. Miller
Writer & Essayist on social reform