ver half of the individuals in a recent study—all of whom were 65 and over—needed another family member to either make, or help them make, a choice about important health issues, including which medical procedures to get, where to receive post-hospital care and what should be done if their heart stops beating. In 59 percent of these cases, it was a daughter making a decision for an elderly parent. Unless a family member has a signed Health Care Power of Attorney form (POA), it can be challenging from him or her to help in the event of a crisis. "Many hospitals treat family members as visitors rather than as members of the patient's health care team," laments study author Alexia Torke, M.D., M.S., associate professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. "Surrogates often have trouble contacting hospital staff and struggle for information about the patient." Until the medical system becomes more caregiver-friendly, it's essential for family members to get a Power of Attorney ready before a loved one gets sick.