Someday, you may be someone’s agent under a Medical Power of Attorney or making financial decisions under a Durable Power of Attorney. You may even be someone’s guardian. Or you may find that your loved one is in the hospital, has no Medical Power of Attorney or Guardian – and you are up to bat.
- How do you decide?
- What would they want?
- What is truly in their best interest? Theirs and no one else’s?
Before you can choose, you have to know what the choices are – all the choices. You have to spend time talking with the doctors, reading reliable information (like Mayo Clinic and MedMD).
You have to ask questions. Questions like
- What are the risks?
- How likely are they?
- What is the recovery period?
- What is the recovery like?
- To what degree can my spouse expect to regain autonomy? When?
- What other alternatives have you considered?
- Are any ruled out by my parent’s other conditions?
- Would others be available at another hospital?
While we may all want to act in the patient’s best interest treat them with respect, caring and compassion, we can still approach decision making in different ways. Physicians, for example, take an oath promising first, to do no harm. We all are affected by our personal sense of morality, by habit, by religion and the law, by wanting approval – if only from ourselves, by wanting to avoid family disputes and by an awareness of the financial and personal costs involved in making one choice as opposed to the other. In a crisis, we may have trouble considering long-term consequences.
We must be on the outlook for exaggerations, for promising what we can’t deliver, for distortions, half-truths and misleading statements. This is all very difficult when, as is often the case in a crisis, our emotions – and those of people around us – seem to have the upper hand.
Sometimes we even feel that we must tell a “little white lie” to spare other’s feelings. Ask yourself if the person you lied to, on discovering the lie, would thank you for caring? Or would they feel manipulated or deceived?
These legal documents are available for FREE on our Resource page. Click here to download: Resources for Texans Creating Wills, Trusts and Planning Estates
- HIPAA Medical Information Release Authorization Form
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Catholic Medical Power of Attorney
- Advance Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates
- Catholic Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates
- Appointment for Disposition of Remains
- Declaration of Appointment of Guardian for Our Minor Children
- Complete Care Plan
- Legal Terms
Throughout life, you can stay in charge – if you let people know what you want in advance. At The Garrett Law Firm, we help you do that. We focus your estate planning on you.
Unlock your future.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.