It’s the time of year for “Snowbirds,” typically retirees, to head to warmer southern locales to avoid the cold temperatures and snow of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma winters. Anyone who expects to be away from home for an extended period of time should pack along copies of important legal papers, especially those that pertain to medical care.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An Advanced Healthcare Directive is a legal document used in the event of a medical emergency, typically when you face an end-of-life condition. The adjective “advanced” simply means that the document is prepared ahead of the medical emergency, before the need for it arises.
An Advanced Healthcare Directive guides an individual’s medical care when the individual is incapacitated and cannot speak for himself or herself. Typically a standardized form of Advanced Healthcare Directive is used in each state. This form may contain simple check boxes to indicate what types of medical procedures individuals wish to have performed in the event that they can no longer speak for themselves.
However, even though the form itself is simple to complete, it does require considerable thought to determine the answers that are best for each individual.
Everyone should already have an Advanced Healthcare Directive on file, whether or not they are traveling. It’s important for Snowbirds to bring along a copy of this medical document in case a major health event occurs while on winter vacation.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney designates the person who is authorized to speak on an individual’s behalf if the individual is incapacitated due to a medical emergency. While the Advance Healthcare Directive provides instructions for extreme situations – end-of-life conditions such as persistently unconscious or terminal – someone still needs to act on the behalf of the patient for other types of decisions, should the need arise.
Hospitals routinely request these two documents during the admission process. An already stressful time is made easier by having these documents readily available.
Another option is to carry a Docubank card. Docubank stores a copy of your important health care documents and issues you a carrying card with an 800# so hospitals and other medical providers can have access to your health care documents within a couple of minutes of entering the hospital. Extremely convenient and reliable.
Attorney at Law
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