Accredited Hospices of America in Houston wants to help you plan for hospice care. Patients have the right to express their wishes and to have an understanding of their hospice care options. Advanced directives help you make sure your doctors honor your wishes.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A power of attorney document gives someone 18 years of age or older the authority over a patient’s money and property. This notarized document stops being effective at the time of your death.
We encourage you to speak with all the people involved in your health care about how you should be cared for if you fall seriously ill. This directive allows family members to make decisions regarding your care without having being insufficiently informed. This document answers the following questions for family members and caregivers:
- What you want your loved ones to know?
- What kind of medical care do you want to receive?
- How comfortable should we make you?
- How do you want people to treat you?
- Who should make decisions regarding your health care once you can’t?
The following list explains legal documents you should know about both before and after deciding you decide to use hospice care. Seek legal counsel to help you with some of the following documents.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA)
This document, once signed, gives medical authority to someone 18 years of age or older. It enables them to make decisions about your health care and medical treatments should you become too ill to make the decisions yourself. This document does not need to be witnessed or notarized and it does not need to be completed by an attorney, but it should be signed.
Texas Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Directive
This document explains that no one, including family members and health care professionals, can perform CPR on you. The patient and their physician both need to sign this document.
Proxy Decision Maker
This gives an individual the authority to make health care decisions when the patient didn’t identify a MDPOA. Interested persons should agree upon who to appoint the proxy decision maker.
Durable Power of Attorney
This notarized document gives the designated POA permission to continue making decisions regarding the patient’s money or property if the patient his or her self becomes unable to make decisions. This document becomes ineffective at the time of the patient’s death. You will also need to fill out a form with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You must include the following statement in the POA document: “The power of attorney continues to be in effect even if I become disabled, incapacitated, or incompetent.”
A Living Will, signed by the patient, instructs the doctor regarding the use of artificial life support if the patient becomes terminally ill and cannot make their own medical decisions.
In Texas, Living Wills may discontinue the use of feeding tubes and artificial nourishment ONLY IF the patient is terminally ill and the Living Will clearly gives this instruction. If the patient can swallow food or fluids on their own, the Living Will allows the patient to continue being fed. Two witnesses need to sign the Living Will. Neither witness can be associated with Accredited Hospices of America, be a physician, an employee of his/her primary physician, or someone who may inherit anything from the patient after his or her death. To obtain a Living Will form and other information regarding Living Wills, see a lawyer, health care facility, doctor, health organization or an office supply store.