What is a medical DPOA and who needs one.
A medical DPOA [durable power of attorney] [we will include a ‘living will’ in this discussion as they do kinda similar things and you need both topics addressed] is a legal document which assigns the ability to make medical decisions for you to someone else typically a family member or close friend. Normally a medical DPOA does not kick in until or unless you are incapacitated. Examples of being incapacitated would include if you are unconscious or if you are declared incompetent. To be declared incompetent typically requires the court system to be involved. There could be other conditions which would activate the medical DPOA, as an example of that could be if the medication that you have consumed would reasonably impair your judgement [something that if you were driving could get you charged with dui or dwi]
Unless you are ‘incapacitated” under the terms listed above or actually in the medical DPOA which YOU wanted done, NO ONE can ‘PUT’ you somewhere against your will, such as into a nursing home, assisted living facility or psychiatric facility without going to court and proving that you are incapacitated.
In 40 years of working in healthcare I have seen everything from the simple generic fill in the blank that you can down load from your states’ website [typically under the Secretary of State in the statute section] or you can go to an ‘office supply store’ and they have generic fill in the blank forms for this and many other things or you can go to a lawyer and they will ‘execute’ one for you [basically it would be included with estate planning stuff]. I have also seen very detailed ones where the person outlined specific treatment guidelines and specified who was NOT allowed to be involved in decisions or even to visit them. For the most part as long as the document is logical, reasonable and executed properly [signed, witnessed [some states require 2 witnesses] and notarized most medical folks will cooperate with you and it.
WHO NEEDS one? If you are 18 years old or older you need to have one, PERIOD! Without one I have seen things done TO people that I am sure [from talking with the family] that they would not have wanted done. Your family will have little to no say in your care if you are incapacitated.
For the most part it just makes the whole thing easier on everyone, you, your family and the staff.
Back when I was working in general psych and substance abuse we were not allowed to even admit to someone who called to see IF the person was there unless they had the DPOA or the patient had put them on the visitor list. We could not even say that they were not there.
Of course this and every thing else we post is to spark discussion. Talk with YOUR lawyer and or healthcare provider.