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a medical POA but she is not listening. I would like to know who out there has had problems because there was no Medical POA in place? Or is she right, the living will is all she needs?

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If medical decisions need to be made and your loved one is not able to make them on her own, the hospital or doctor may refuse to give information to you or allow you to make decisions for your loved one- unless she has legally designated you as her healthcare agent or surrogate. Due to privacy laws, health care regulations, and fear of lawsuits, the doctor or hospital may not consult with or take direction from anyone other than the patient, or maybe the patient's spouse or child, on treatment alternatives, medications, and such. In an emergency situation where time is of the essence, this can be catastrophic.

If your loved one can communicate her wishes for you to make medical decisions and receive information about her healthcare situation, she can sign an Advance Health Care Directive, which will give you or someone the legal right to act as her agent for healthcare decisions and information. A hospital or doctor may allow her to name you as her health care "surrogate" in your medical record for that facility, but that may provide limited powers compared to an Advance Health Care Directive. In addition to the Advance Healthcare Directive, your loved one should also consider naming you or someone as her agent on a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions. Medical care may involve substantial costs, and your loved one may need help with paying bills or with transactions while she is undergoing treatment or a procedure.

Both the Advance Healthcare Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions are important legal documents. Make sure the right forms are used and that they are valid for the state your loved one is in.
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A living will is not all that she needs. For her benefit and your ability to help her when she can't make medical decisions for herself, she needs to give medical POA to you. Has she given you durable POA or does she understand why that is important. What helped me get this for my mother was to have the family lawyer explain it to her. Is there someone who your mother trusts and or admires who could talk with her about it?
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madge: elders do odd things when it comes to their final wishes. They get paranoid that people are trying to "take over." Or they fear if they talk about these things that they will die. I guess it is because we have to give up so much freedom as we age that we hold on to the few things that we can.
Talk to your brother or better yet, write to him. Spell out in detail that you will not be able to make any medical decisions for your Mom, should she become incapcitated. Tell him if that occurs, without your Mom naming you medical POA, that it will be HIS decision and he will need to speak with the docs about her care.
No one seems to take anything seriously until it is their neck on the line.
If your Mom should become unable to speak for herself, and you do not have med. POA, I believe that it will be up to the medical staff to decide her fate. Does she know that? She will also need a medical directive that states whether she wants extreme measures to be used if she should fall gravely ill. Tell her, that if she does not make these decisions in advance, total strangers will be making it for her and you and your brother will be left out of it.
I know that these are sensitive topics, but decisions need to be made for both your Mom's sake and yours.
Good luck
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Madge: naheaton is correct. There are two ways doctors can release info. One is to the person who has the medical POA the other is when the patient signs a form that lists all the people they can share information with. For example, when your Mom goes to the doctor's office or is admitted to the hospital, she can designate who can have information about her care. The catch to the HIPPA forms, is that she has to be both conscious and competent. If she is unconscious, no forms can be signed and I don't think anyone but the POA can receive info.
Personally, I would be concerned if only the medical staff could have input on my care.
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My mother had ALZ, and she never had a medical POA. She never needed one. Nature took its course. She had been in and out of a nursing home for therapy. They always asked her her wishes and she was always able to say. She was never unable to speak. She never had a guardian either. Never needed it. She did have financial POA to handle her finances and business. I have a 93 yr old relative now who has no POA. One of her caregivers asked me when am I going to put her in a nursing home. I said I won't, she'll put herself in. If she falls and breaks a bone, she will need to go. I did tell her that if that should happen, I don't have to promise support should she be discharged. But at 93, there is nothing wrong with her mind, and her memory is better than mine. She does have a social worker from the Area Office on Aging who oversees her care. But I'm not getting any POA.
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Hi cmagnum, I have posted several times about the trials and tribulations of my relationship with Mom. It is not good. My brother has financial POA, executor of will, on her checking accounts. But, at least as of a few months ago, she had no Medical POA. Just the living will. When I tried to explain the need for this, she told my friend I was trying to take over her Finances and Health Care and she is not ready for that. However my brother is on everything. She is 81, geez. There is no talking to her, but maybe my brother could get her to do this. He doesn't seem to see the need nor care. Unfortunately he will be the one to care for her since he is her Financial POA, etc. So far, she has been really stubborn. I hope by getting some "real life" input into how this can be a reall problem, maybe I could persuade my brother to get her to make him Medical POA as well. She says she will talk to her lawyer, whoever that is, but I never hear anything back. Just curious to hear from those who did not have this paper and what complications does it cause.
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Hi Lilliput, always love your input. I am concerned about the unconscious and incompetent thing. She has very high cholestrol (over 400 at one time) and who knows what. She never goes to the doctor.Doesn't treat the cholestrol, says her good cholestrol is high too and that balances it out?? Not so sure. So she will designate to my brother the power to know about her health, if she can. And there lies the problem. The "if". So I guess the medical staff will call the shots if she is not able to sign anything at the moment, oh well I have tried. I appreciate your input.
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From what I have seen in ER with my mom and with doctors in the hospital whoever has the medical POA is the person they talk to. I am my mom's medical and durable POA which bugs my step-dad, but he is not competent to handle such responsibility. These HIPPA laws are rather tight. In the old days, if you were the parent or the spouse the doctors would talk with you. Today, if they are over 18, you better be their medical POA. Any doctor who is not concerned by a total cholesterol of 400 needs to go back to med school. Good cholesterol is high only due to exercise.
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cmagnum, doctor is concerned about 400 high cholesterol. Put her on meds. She stopped taking them, claimed they gave her leg cramps. Go figure. She is almost 81, seems healthy. Makes no sense to me. Doctor can't get her to do anything nor follow his advice or even return to see him. Impossible. That's why I worry about a stroke that leaves her not able to talk or do anything and no Medical POA. Just awful.
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Thanks, Mom may never need one either. Good to know these different situations.
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