Healthcare POA Medical Abbreviation: What It Means & Why You Should Care

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The Helathcare POA medical abbreviation stands for “Power of Attorney.” It’s a legal agreement that names someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself. A POA makes all the difference in what care you receive in an accident or illness. Let’s explore how to prepare for the unexpected and discover why a POA is essential for you and your loved ones.

Importance of a Healthcare POA

A Healthcare Power of Attorney lets you name someone (called an “agent”) to make health care decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.

Drawing up a POA can help you stay prepared for whatever happens. Thinking about and preparing for the unexpected is crucial, especially if you have a family. 

And, it’s not difficult to draw up the best POA for your situation so you can stay prepared in an emergency.

For example, if you get into a severe car accident or suffer a stroke, you’ll end up in the hospital with doctors wondering what to do. 

One of the best ways to let emergency personnel know about your wishes is through another person. Giving someone the power to make decisions for you can help the doctors decide whether you need life-giving surgery or if they should let you go.

One of the ways your POA can know what you desire is through your advanced directives. You can use advanced directives to give your Health care POA your wishes, values, and thoughts about life-saving treatments in an emergency.

What are Advanced Directives in North Carolina?

Advanced directives are legal documents that let others know your desires for end-of-life care and other medical decisions. Your loved ones can see which medical treatments you do or don’t want.

Creating advanced directives is for everyone. What if one of these scenarios happens? How will your loved ones and doctors know how to make decisions if you: 

  • Develop a terminal illness
  • Catch a strain of covid that lands you in the hospital on a ventilator
  • Get into a car accident that puts you in a coma
  • Experience a severe stroke that causes you to fall into a vegetative state 
  • Develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia that makes it hard for you to communicate

Creating Advanced Directives in North Carolina

If you live in North Carolina, you can create a type of advanced directive known as a “Living Will.” A living will goes into effect if you suffer from a:

  • Terminal condition 
  • Vegetative state
  • Irreversible coma

In a Living Will, you can state your wishes about life-sustaining medical treatments, such as:

  • Artificial nutrition and hydration
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Dialysis
  • Blood transfusions
  • And more

Talking with an estate planning attorney to work out your POA and advanced directives is a good idea. Make sure to give copies to your agent, your doctor, any other health care providers you see regularly, and your family or close friends.

If you want to change or revoke your advance directive, you can do so at any time by destroying all copies of the old document and creating a new one.

Healthcare POA vs. Guardianship

When you’re ready to appoint someone as your POA, choose someone you trust. This person should be able to make difficult decisions and follow through with them. They should also be comfortable communicating with doctors and other medical staff. You may want to appoint more than one person so that there is always someone available.

You could face court-appointed guardianship if you don’t have a POA. Without a POA, the state may appoint a guardian to make decisions for you long-term while you remain unable to function independently. 

A court-appointed guardian receives legal authority to make all decisions regarding your health, finances, and living situation. With guardianship, you don’t choose the person who will make decisions for you. The court decides who will be your guardian.

Alternatively, when you draw up a POA, you decide who you trust to make decisions about your care, health, finances, and well-being. Preparing for the unexpected with a POA is essential for your future.

You never know when an accident or illness could happen, so it’s crucial to have a plan!

Making Your Wishes Known

It’s of utmost importance to have a conversation with your loved ones about your end-of-life wishes so they know what you want. You should also give them a copy of your advanced directives. Your advanced directives can help them make life and death decisions about your care if you can’t make them yourself.

If something happens and you’re unable to communicate, having a POA and advanced directives in place can give peace of mind to you and your loved ones. Knowing that you’ve taken the time to prepare for the worst-case scenario can help everyone involved feel better in an already difficult situation.

No one likes to think about what would happen if they were in a vegetative state or suffered a severe accident, but it’s essential to stay prepared. Understanding the POA medical abbreviation and putting some thought into your end-of-life care can ensure you’re ready for anything.

We Can Help

At Vail Gardner Law, we help you prepare for the unexpected. Emergencies happen every day, so draw up your plan and stay ready. We would be honored to help you draft a legal healthcare POA and advanced directives. Give us a call today so we can help you get started planning for your future!