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Advanced Directives: Get the Tools You Need

Advanced Directives: Get the Tools You Need

Everyday life lessons teach us that we should expect the unexpected. Although you may not expect to get sick, you can decide in advance which type of medical treatment you want to receive. As a patient, you have the right to make informed decisions about your medical care. In the event that your condition prevents you from communicating your desires, your rights may be in jeopardy. Ohio law provides several ways for you to make health care decisions now that will go into effect in the future. Listed below are the descriptions of three legal documents that you can create to help you take control of your medical care.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOA) – This document allows you to designate one or more people to act as your agent to make physical or mental health care decisions for you when your doctor says that you have lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself. Your “agent in fact”, the person you name on your DPOA form, has the authority to speak on your behalf. You can provide instructions that address specific health care concerns or your agent can act in your general best interest. DPOA agents may act on your behalf until you regain your ability to make your own decisions.

Declaration for mental health treatment – In 2003, the law allowing people to create a declaration for mental health treatment went into effect. Although the DPOA can address mental health treatment, many people in Ohio may benefit from using this declaration. People diagnosed with a mental health condition or have been diagnosed in the past can use the declaration to specify complex mental health treatment including, but not limited to particular types of drug therapy. People who have a condition that may progress into a mental incapacity may also benefit from a declaration for mental health treatment. You should note that statements made in your living will (discussed below) can over-ride your mental health declaration.

Ohio living will – A living will goes into effect when you become terminally ill or suffer from a condition where you are unable to speak for yourself. This document provides instructions to health care providers about your preferences for life-sustaining treatment to be withheld or withdrawn. The treatment may include, but is not limited to hydration and nutrition through artificial means, CPR and others.

Protect your right to choose your health care treatment and express your preferences in advance. Contact a Dayton attorney with experience who can provide legal counsel with compassion.

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