What is a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 3.15.08 PM A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is also known as Healthcare Agent or “proxy.” It is a component of an Advanced Healthcare Directive. It is a document that identifies the person whom you have named to make healthcare decision for you when you cannot make those decisions yourself. This should be a person that you trust and have had many conversations about your healthcare wishes.

Glossary of Terms

These terms are commonly used in Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: Capacity: Legal status imposed by the court. A person has medical decision making-capacity when he or she is able to understand the medical problem and the risks and benefits to the treatment options. Incapacity: Often determined by a physician that the person does not have medical decision making-capacity due to the inability to understand the medical problem or the risks and benefits to the treatment options. This is used to activate a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. Living Will: A type of Advanced Directive that specifies which medical treatments you do or do not want when faced with a medical crisis, serious illness or end-of-life care, or when you can no longer make those decisions for yourself (e.g., in a coma.). This document may also be called “directive to physicians,” “healthcare declaration,” or “medical directive.” Power of Attorney: A legal document giving authority to another individual to act on his or her behalf in private affairs, business, legal and financial matters.