Ideally, you will always be able to make your own medical decisions. It is your right to do so. However, the reality for a lot of people is that this becomes difficult or even impossible near the end of their life. If you suffer from something like a stroke or traumatic brain injury, you may lose the ability to make these crucial decisions when you need to make them.
There are a few ways to address something like this, one of which is to use a medical power of attorney to decide who you want to act as your agent, should this time come. That person can then make decisions based on what they know about you and the care you would prefer, working with your medical team to explore the various options.
So who should you pick?
It’s probably best to pick a family member or someone else that you can trust to put your best interests first. This person is going to be making big, potentially life-altering decisions for you, and you must know that they’re going to do what you would have wanted them to do.
That said, you do want to talk to these people before you choose them. Some family members find life-or-death decisions too hard to make when a loved one is at the heart of those decisions. You must get somebody willing and able to do the job and who agrees to do it in advance.
Setting up your power of attorney
Just telling someone you want them to make the decisions is not enough. You need to know about the legal steps to take to set up an official power of attorney.