3 Essential Legal Documents for Elderly Healthcare
August 31, 2018
With concerns about privacy so prevalent today, it is essential family members and caregivers plan carefully for their loved one's healthcare, to ensure they are able to participate in important medical decisions that may arise. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), enacted to protect an individual's sensitive medical records, could become a barrier to speaking with doctors during a crisis, or to making essential life-and-death decisions.
Here are three important legal documents every caregiver should obtain.
1. HIPAA Authorization - Your parent or loved one must sign a form authorizing you or someone else to receive medical records or health information. This is a very short form that only takes a moment to complete.
2. Health Care Proxy (also known as a medical power of attorney) - This is a legal document that enables a designated person to make health care decisions. The patient must be mentally competent at the time this form is signed. To avoid any conflicts associated with difficult decisions, only one person may be names as a health proxy. An alternate person may be named in case the designated proxy is unable or unwilling to serve.
3. Living Will - It is also recommended you understand your loved one's preferences in the event they need life support, a feeding tube or intravenous fluids to survive. Knowing in advance whether your loved one wants to be resuscitated if he or she stops breathing, or be put on artificial life support, can alleviate any pressures or family conflicts in times of crisis.