In order to give someone the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, you must have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (Medical Power of Attorney). This will allow your agent to make decisions including artificial hydration and nutrition, arranging home health, nursing care, up to and including end of life decisions.
The law has the same stipulations on whom you may appoint as your agent for health care as it does for finances. A medical background is beneficial but certainly not necessary.
As long as you are competent, you may revoke your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The act of revoking this document is the same as that for a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances. Once revoked, you need to send copies of the revocation to everyone that has a copy of the original document. The document terminates automatically upon your death.
Because this document can literally put your life into someone else’s hands, make sure that the person you select understands your wishes and desires in advance of any incident so that they can make decisions for you based upon your philosophy. You also should make sure that the person you are naming is comfortable with the responsibility of life and death decisions on your behalf.
Contact an attorney at the Zolman Law Firm in St. Louis today for a free consultation to discuss the options that are available to you.