Many people are confused by the legal names assigned to their medical documents. However, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are signing. If you should become unable to make your own medical decisions, the documents you sign regarding your care will control.
A Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) instructs medical care providers that you do not want heroic measures (artificial ventilation, cardiac compression, endotracheal intubation and defibrillation) taken to save your life or to revive you. Many individually prepared documents do include language that permits the agent under the health proxy to make decisions for the patient relative to all medical decisions, including end of life and possibly a DNR.
A health care proxy (also known as a health care power of attorney, health care surrogate, or health care directive) appoints another person to make medical decisions if you are no longer able. The health care proxy allows the appointed agent to access your medical records. When you execute the health care proxy document, it is wise to keep a copy with your will and provide a copy to the person appointed, your primary physician, and your attorney.
If you are interested in learning more about planning for your future medical care and end of life decisions, contact Maura Curran. She can help you with your medical documents and your estate planning needs.