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Planning for Future Health Care Decisions

By: Marty Bodnar

You have the ability to make your own medical decisions. You can accept, refuse, or stop medical treatment. If you lose the ability to make your own medical decisions, someone else will have to make those decisions for you. The good news is that you can choose the person you want to make those decisions. That person is called your “patient advocate” and you can give them information about your preferences, values, beliefs, wishes and goals that will help him or her make the decisions you want made.

It’s important for both you and your patient advocate to understand that their ability to make decisions only starts when you lack the ability to do so.

You can designate an alternate patient advocate to act in case your first choice of patient advocate is unavailable. Before your patient advocate can act, he or she must sign a form accepting the role. They can make the decision to refuse or stop life sustaining treatment only if you’ve clearly expressed that they are permitted to make that judgment call.

Your patient advocate can be a spouse or relative, but doesn’t have to be. For some people, a friend, pastor, or co-worker might be the right choice. Your patient advocate must be at least 18 years of age and should be someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing your preferences, values, wishes and goals.

Your patient advocate needs to be willing to follow your wishes even if that’s difficult or stressful and even if your decisions are different from the ones he or she would make for his or her own medical care.

Have Questions About Elder Law in Ann Arbor or the Surrounding Areas? Schedule Your Consultation!

If you would like to learn more about patient advocate rights or elder law services at PSED Law, contact us today! Schedule an initial consultation. (734) 665-4441

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