Monday, April 16, 2018

It's National Healthcare Decisions Week

Cousin Eggbert could be the person making important medical decisions for you unless you plan otherwise.

Is that all right with you?

We know we should fill out the medical power of attorney to govern what happens when we can’t handle the choice of medical options for ourselves, but we don’t always get around to it.

Never fear, the state has a fail-safe plan in place.

If you haven’t completed a medical power of attorney before you need it, a health care surrogate can be appointed for you by your physician. That’s how Cousin Eggbert could enter the picture.

In observance of National Healthcare Decisions Week (April 16-22), take the steps to fill out your medical power of attorney. Don’t let procrastination change the path of your life. You have the right to control who makes those crucial medical decisions on your behalf.

West Virginia has a form for a Medical Power of Attorney and a form for a Living Will (to specify end-of-life choices) with questions and answers about both available at http://wvethics.org/media/12077/faq-2016-word-version-complete.pdf

You can consult with a social worker at a hospital or other medical facility to work out choices you are comfortable with. For this type of document, an attorney is not required.

If you have questions on this important decision or other important legal issues, you can contact West Virginia Senior Legal Aid for assistance. To be eligible for this free service, you must be a West Virginia resident at least 60 years old and must be the one to call 800-229-5068. We’re here to help!

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