Accredited Hospices of America would like to assist you and your family in the planning process and decisions necessary for hospice care. To plan for healthcare decisions, hospice patients should be able to understand their treatment choices as well as be able to express their values and wishes. There are various legal documents, known as advance directives, available to help ensure that your wishes will be honored.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A notarized document that assigns authority to an adult at least 18 years of age allowing them to make decisions regarding your money or property. This document ceases to be in effect at the time of death.
Accredited Hospices of America encourages you to talk with your family, friends, and doctor to communicate to them exactly how you wish to be treated if you become seriously ill. This directive can be very helpful for family members as well, since they will no longer be required to make difficult choices and determine your wishes without sufficient information. This document would provide important answers to these questions:
- Who do you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them?
- What kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want?
- How comfortable you want to be?
- How you want people to treat you?
- What you want your loved ones to know?
The following list includes legal documents you should be aware of before and after you decide to use hospice care. You will need to seek legal counsel for some of these documents.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA)
A signed document that gives authority to an adult at least 18 years of age allowing them to make necessary medical and health care decisions if you become incapacitated. This document does not need to be notarized or witnessed and it does not need to be completed by an attorney.
Texas Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive
A document stating that emergency health care personnel or others may not perform CPR on you. This document is available from a health care provider and must be signed by both you and your doctor.
Proxy Decision Maker
The individual appointed to make health care decisions when a MDPOA has not been identified. The appointment is made by a mutual agreement (consensus) of family members and interested persons.
Durable Power of Attorney
A notarized document stating that the designated POA can continue their authority to make decisions regarding your money or property even if you become incapacitated, disabled, or incompetent. This document ceases to be in effect at the time of death. Please note that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will require you to complete one of its forms as well. A statement to this effect must be included in the POA document: “The power of attorney will continue to be in effect even if I become disabled, incapacitated, or incompetent.“
A Living Will is a document signed by a person which instructs the doctor regarding the use of artificial life support measures if the person becomes terminally ill and is unable to make medical decisions.
In Texas, Living Wills may also be used to stop tube feeding and other forms of artificial nourishment, but ONLY IF the Living Will clearly indicates this instruction and the person has a terminal illness. If the patient is able to swallow food and/or fluids, the Living Will won’t prevent the patient from being fed. The Living Will be be signed by two witnesses and need not be notarized. Neither witness can be a patient of Accredited Hospices of America, any person associated with Accredited Hospices of America, any physician, employee of his/her primary physician, or persons who may inherit any of the patient’s money or property. Living Will forms and other information regarding Living Wills can often be obtained through doctors, lawyers, health care facilities, other health organizations or an office supply store.