During these uncertain and stressful times, you may be wondering how you can ensure that a person you trust is able to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do that yourself. It’s possible to designate one or more health care agents using a form created by the State of California called an Advance Health Care Directive. A free, fillable PDF with instruction is available at the end of this article and on our social media sites.
How To Choose A Healthcare Agent
You should choose someone who loves you enough to make hard choices if necessary and be willing to become your personal “squeaky wheel” if you have to spend any time in a care facility. People with active health care agents typically receive better care, simply because the facility staff will not know precisely when they may appear and raise the alarm if your agent is not happy about your level of care. Your agent should have the ability to engage in a discussion with your health care providers and to question their recommendations. Most importantly, do not name someone who will agree to anything a doctor says without asking questions.
What to Discuss with Your Healthcare Agent
You should sit down with your agent or agents before you fill out this form and have a heart-to-heart discussion about your medical care wishes. It’s important that your agent understands that they are going to be entrusted to enforce your wishes. They should not feel as if they are making critical health care decisions for you in a vacuum. Also, if they disagree with your preferences, you need to know that up front so you can feel confident in naming them as your agent.
How to Complete Healthcare Agent Form During COVID-19
You can fill out the attached Advanced Health Care Directive form yourself, print a copy and get a couple of neighbors to witness it; you do not need a notary for this form if you have two witnesses Additionally, none of your designated agents can sign as a witness. .
In order to practice social distancing during COVID-19, you should arrange to meet your neighbors at their door with your completed form, your own pen and a hard surface (a clipboard or book) so they can sign the form. Take along some hand sanitizer too and ask them to be sure to wash their hands. Simply set the clipboard/book, your form, pen and hand sanitizer down at their doorstep and step back. Ask them to use the hand sanitizer and then sign as your witnesses on the form using your pen. Then, after they close the door you can collect your signed form. Put it in an envelope or plastic bag and put it on your fridge so it’s right there if you, or your agents, need it.
You can forward this post to your neighbors and if they need an Advance Health Care Directive and have a signing party on the porch!
To download an Advanced Health Care Directive, please click HERE.
If you have any questions about how to fill out this form, please contact our office a call to set up a free conference call with one of our attorneys. We would be happy to help!