Durable Power of Attorney
Who would you want making your health care decisions if you are unable to?
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that allows you to name a person as your health care agent. This person would be authorized to consent to, stop or refuse most medical treatments for you if a physician determines you cannot make these decisions yourself.
The person you choose should be a trusted family member or friend with whom you have discussed your values and medical treatment choices.
What to do with this form
The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form is a legal document once it has been completely filled out and signed with the appropriate signatures.
Signed copies of the completed directives should be included in your medical record, given to any person to whom you give your durable power of attorney - including any alternate people you may have named - and to your personal attorney.
Originals should be kept by someone you trust and who can obtain them in an emergency.
Who can make decisions for me?
If you lose the ability to communicate and make decisions and have not designated a health care agent, Washington state law enables the following people, in order of priority, to make health care decisions for you, including withdrawing or withholding care:
- a guardian with health care decision-making authority, if one has been appointed
- the person named in the durable power of attorney with health care decision-making authority
- your spouse
- your adult children
- your parents
- your adult brothers and sisters
When there is more than one person in a category, such as children, parents, or brothers and sisters, all must agree on the health care decision.