Is Your Medical Directive Worth the Paper It’s Written On?

I am often asked to review client’s existing medical directives.  (sometimes called a Health Care Power of Attorney or Designation of Health Care Surrogate)

They don’t always work.

Here are the most common problems with these documents:

  • The document was created in another state and does not follow the Florida laws
  • The document does not contain HIPPA law language (the privacy law)
  • The client’s preferences have changed but the documents have not been updated
  • The document designates agents (substitute decision makers) who might not be alive or able to do the job
  • The document is vague or ambiguous and can easily be misinterpreted by the family or medical personnel
  • The document does not discuss certain modern medical interventions that the client might or might not want
  • The Living Will does not contain a provision regarding the use of feeding tubes and hydration when the patient is dying

And here is another problem that has nothing to do at all with the paper it is written on:  Many people may feel that creating and signing an advance directive means they can avoid awkward conversations with family members about their health care wishes.  The actual result may then be that the document is not helpful at all in a medical crisis.

Questions? The Law Office of Debra Simms is here to help. Call us today 386.256.4882

This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.

 

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