Current laws are very strict when it comes to healthcare. Specific qualifications must be met before anyone can make medical decisions, receive updates or participate in conversations with a medical professional regarding someone else’s health. While these policies are set in place to protect personal information, they can often create extra hurdles for caregivers and family members looking to help.
To avoid future stress, time and resources surrounding privacy laws, it is critical that caregivers have signed legal documentation stating that they can access all medical information for their loved one. In a recent article, AgingCare discusses the three legal documents that caregivers need. These include:
1. HIPAA Authorization Form
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a legal standard for keeping a patient’s medical information private, making it illegal for medical professionals to share any health records or details without written consent. This document is critical for caregivers and family members in order to receive medical updates and stay in the loop about healthcare.
2. Power of Attorney
The medical Power of Attorney (POA), also known as a healthcare proxy document, enables a person to appoint a trusted relative or friend to handle specific healthcare decisions on their behalf. This document is important for caregivers to take care of right away because it must be prepared while the patient is physically and mentally able to grant someone these powers.
3. Advance Health Care Directive
Commonly referred to as a living will, this document allows people to record their wishes for end-of-life care. A living will may indicate specific treatments a person does or does not wish to receive in the case that they cannot make these decisions themselves, such as resuscitation or life support. Caregivers should have this document in order to avoid making these difficult decisions on their own.
Preparation is key for caregivers. When a medical emergency strikes, it’s often too late for these documents to be taken care of. That is why it’s extremely important for caregivers to have all legal documents set in place as soon as possible to avoid any difficulties down the road.