Durable Health Care Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy

Durable Health Care Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy

A Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA) is a legal document that allows an individual, referred to as the “principal,” to appoint a trusted person, known as the “agent” or “health care proxy,” to make health care decisions on their behalf in the event they become unable to do so. This document is an essential component of advance care planning and empowers the appointed agent to make medical decisions that align with the principal’s preferences and values.

The Health Care Power of Attorney typically covers a range of health care choices such as:

  • including treatment options,
  • second opinions,
  • surgical procedures,
  • hiring or firing healthcare providers,
  • transferring you to another facility
  • end-of-life decisions.

The agent’s authority becomes effective when the principal is deemed incapable of making informed medical choices, either temporarily or permanently, due to illness, injury, or other incapacitating circumstances.

The person named is required to consult with your doctor and has the right to access your medical information in order to make informed decisions about your care. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), your doctor, hospitals or long term care facilities may be prevented from giving out any information about your condition to anyone who is not your Health Care Power of Attorney.

Creating a Health Care Power of Attorney allows individuals to ensure that their medical preferences are respected and followed, even when they are unable to communicate or make decisions themselves.

You can download a copy of the Rhode Island Durable Power of Attorney For Health Care to be used in Rhode Island here (English), and in Spanish here.

It is strongly recommended that you have an attorney assist you in completing a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney.

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