Recently I was asked to comment on health care surrogate forms and power of attorney for health. For these I use the term living wills. These are directives that a person records to be used in the event that they become unable to communicate their wishes with respect to medical decision making. This seems fairly simple. Don’t we know how we would want to be treated? Some might say, “I never want to live, unable to communicate, in a nursing home” and record in their directives that they are never to be placed in a nursing home.. Should we be making decisions like this about our future? What if the Lord’s good plan for our life includes the very thing we direct people never to do? See my blog posting titled, Living Wills – Never put me in a nursing home.
Recently I was asked to comment on health care surrogate forms and power of attorney for health. For these I use the term living wills. They are directives that a person records that are intended to be used in the event that they become unable to communicate their wishes with respect to medical decision making. Sometimes the directives are given for a particular person. Where I live, we use the term Power of Attorney For Person Care (POA). This is a person who has the legal responsibility to make decisions for someone who is not able to give their own directions with respect to care. If I understand the laws where I live correctly, the POA of a person is supposed to attempt to make decisions that represent the decisions the person would make if they were able to do so. A Living Will might designate a POA for personal care. If one is not designated the law usually gives responsibility to one’s, spouse, then children, then parents and then siblings. If you write a living will when you are able to make decisions, then when you become unable to make decisions, whoever ends being your POA may find themselves bound by what you have written. What if your POA does not feel that he/she can, in clear conscience, follow your wishes? What if your POA thinks that to follow your wishes would require him/her to act contrary to the way they believe God would desire them to act? Should not these concerns influence what we write in a living will?