Even if you have enjoyed good health throughout your life, a sudden illness or serious injury may make it impossible for you to make important health care decisions. Fortunately, with a medical power of attorney, you can designate a trusted friend or relative to make them for you.
Because your health care representative may have to make some tough decisions, you must pick the right person for the job. Here are three questions to ask potential health care representatives before completing your medical power of attorney.
1. Do you meet the legal requirements?
New Jersey law places few restrictions on who may act as a health care representative. In fact, while there are exceptions, it only lists individuals who may not serve in the role. These include the following:
- Your attending physician
- Any operator, administrator or employee of a health care facility where you are a patient
- Anyone who is under the age of 18
You also may not appoint more than one person to act as your representative.
2. Do you understand my wishes?
You can use an advance directive to define or limit your health care representative’s decision-making authority. Still, your representative must understand your wishes and be willing to respect them. Before naming yours, be sure you discuss end-of-life care in detail.
3. Can you manage conflict?
Your family members or friends may disagree with your wishes or the actions of your health care representative. For health care providers to honor your wishes, though, your representative may need to make difficult decisions.
He or she may also need to address the objections and concerns of those closest to you. Ultimately, when you choose a representative who can manage conflict, you boost your chances of receiving the medical care you want.