Considering your healthcare decisions in advance is an important part of creating an Estate Plan. The three healthcare documents that most people are concerned with are the POLST, Advanced Directive, and Healthcare Power of Attorney.
The POLST, or Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is a medical order not a legal documents. Not everyone needs a POLST. This document is prepared with a physician, and sets forth whether you would want extraordinary measures taken to save you life. These measures include CPR.
Physicians will often start a POLST dialog with patients that are in declining health...this is not an order for everyone.
An Advance Directive gives instructions for care for serious conditions when you are unable to make decisions on your own. Every adult should have an Advance Directive. In Oregon, Advance Directives take a form set forth in the Oregon Statutes.
Effective January 1, 2019, Oregon has a new Advance Directive form. If you already have an Advance Directive it will still work, just know that if you fill out a new one it will look a little different.
This document appoints your healthcare agents and gives them instructions related to feeding tubes and other artificial life-support measures. It allows you to refuse those artificial measures, state that you want them, or that you only want them on the advice of your physician.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Like the Advance Directive, this document also appoints your healthcare agent. However, the Healthcare Power of Attorney gives your agent many more powers related to your healthcare decisions.
Some additional powers are: management of pain medications, coordinating in-home care, and coordinating your general medical treatment. The Healthcare Power of Attorney shines when you are not in an end of life situation, but are unable to make decisions for yourself.
The Estate Plans that I prepare include an Advance Directive and Healthcare Power of Attorney (I call it an Advance Directive Addendum). These are important choices that every adult needs to make.
If you'd like to learn more about Healthcare & Estate Planning or have any other Estate Planning questions, please schedule a complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Session.