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Illness, it is at the top of my mind these days. Thankfully it is not the serious kind of illness many face, but rather the rank-and-file colds, virus, bugs, and assortment of ick that descends upon so many during the winter months. As I cough, sip tea, and reach for the tissues, my mind drifts to some advice I share during the many educational seminars I give throughout the year:
When selecting a power of attorney for health care, give it thought, do not go with your knee jerk reaction. Sadly I speak from personal experience, having served as my father's POA while he was dying and as my mom's on her numerous and lengthy hospital stays. When making the nomination, remember these 5 things:
- You do not need to name a relative. In my mind relatives share your DNA, family shares your life. Friends who have become your family may be a more logical selection than a relative you are not close with any more;
- Nominate someone who is comfortable speaking with doctors and medical staff. You need an advocate, and not every person is cut out to question, push, and even border on demand. This is the person you want speaking for you when you cannot;
- Who in your circle of family and friends is comfortable with medical terminology? It will be tossed around a great deal, you need someone who understands or at least will insist that it be explained in terms that make sense to non-medical folks;
- Does the person have the emotional strength to function while you are sick, really sick? This power does not come into play for a sprained ankle, we are talking serious illness and that can be difficult to stand bye and watch; and
- One that stood out in my case -- does the person have the time to be there. When my father was dying he spent his final month in the hospital, and I have not only a legal business but a 13 month old child. It was my weakest point, but I made it work. Make sure you are picking someone who can be at your bedside!
Those are my personal thoughts. Did I miss one that you think is more important? If so, post a comment and share. Thanks for reading, and have a great week.