The problem with traumatic injuries, accidents and medical emergencies is that they always seem to come unexpectedly. But there are steps that everyone can take to improve the odds that you can exert some element of control over future events, even in the worst of circumstances.
To that end, the State of Illinois has adopted a new Health Care Power of Attorney document that promises to be a boon to anyone seeking to manage their own fate in the event of a personal health crisis or accident. Technically known as an “advance directive”, the HCPOA goes into effect when a traumatic event renders you unable to make decisions on your own behalf. Similar to (but not the same as) a Living Will, the HCPOA provides legally binding emergency guidelines for your family or another designated representative.
A key component of the process is the selection of your trusted health care agent, as they may well become the most important person in your life should your life be on the line. The objective of the form is to communicate your emergency medical treatment parameters to your HCPOA-appointed agent, but the law nevertheless allows this individual to consent to or refuse medical interventions. They are also authorized to withdraw treatment if they understand that course to be consistent with your wishes.