Health Care Power of Attorney
Similar to the Durable Power of Attorney, the Health Care Power of Attorney grants authority to another person to make decisions for the Principal in healthcare matters, if the Principal cannot make decisions for themselves. This is very important as otherwise attending physicians may have the authority to make decisions on your behalf, and they may be obligated to provide treatment that you may not have chosen for yourself.
An Agent with Health Care Power of Attorney will have the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. When you give them that authority, you can choose whether the Agent has full decision-making power, or you give them the authority to enforce your wishes. For example, you can elect whether or not you want to be given tube feeding and have your life prolonged, or whether you want to be given maximum treatment for as long as possible regardless of the cost.
If granted discretionary authority, your Agent will be given instruction to consider your personal beliefs, the costs and benefits to treatment, and your relief from suffering. You should choose an Agent who knows you and your beliefs, and you should have a conversation with them when granting the Power of Attorney so they know your wishes.