Even if you have lived a long, healthy and active life, eventually your overall health may begin to deteriorate. If you develop Alzheimer’s, dementia or another memory condition, you may lack the mental capacity to make your own health care decisions. Fortunately, North Carolina law allows you to designate a health care power of attorney to do the job for you.
If you have children, other family members and friends, there may be some dispute about whom you name as your health care POA. Ultimately, provided you choose someone who you are not paying to care for your health, the decision is yours to make. Here are some suggestions for choosing the best health care agent.
Verify medical knowledge
State law prohibits you from naming a for-pay health care provider as your POA. While you may designate a different doctor, nurse or healthcare professional, you probably want to pick a trusted friend or family member. Whoever it is, you should make certain the individual you elect knows about your medical situation. After all, he or she may need to determine which treatment option is best for you.
Talk about your wishes
Modern medicine provides a number of ways to potentially extend a person’s life. Still, not every medical procedure may appeal to you. When naming a health care POA, be sure the person both understands your wishes and is comfortable advocating for them.
Discuss conflict resolution
Your medical team, family members, friends and others may disagree about which course of action is right for you. As such, your health care POA may have to manage conflict. He or she may also have to make unpopular decisions. Accordingly, try to find a health care POA who puts your desires ahead of the wishes of other interested parties.
Planning for end-of-life care can be distressing. Still, you want to choose an agent before you become incapacitated. While you may eventually lose control of your mental faculties, you can keep control over your medical decisions by naming the best possible health care POA.