Campbell River Notary Public Gurdeep Sidhu reminds people that there is a distinct difference between a Healthcare Directive and a Power of Attorney when it comes to Representation Agreements. Photo by Artur Ciastkowski/Campbell River Mirror

End-of-life treatment or personal care: Who’s making your decisions?

Campbell River Notary Public cautions of consequences of having no representation agreement in place

You may have a Power of Attorney prepare to appoint someone to act on your behalf to handle your financial matters. But a Power of Attorney does not allow that person to make medical decisions for you. To appoint someone as your medical representative, a Representation Agreement is required.

Campbell River Notary Public Gurdeep Sidhu says the same person need not handle both the financial and medical decisions. A Representation Agreement covers minor and/or major health care, personal care and end-of-life decisions. Appointing a specific person as the representative can eliminate disagreements that family members may have in times of crisis, he adds.

“Health-care providers are there to provide medical attention and they wish to avoid time-wasting family arguments; therefore, hospitals generally ask for these documents,” Gurdeep says.

“There are situations where the person doesn’t want their closest family member to make medical decisions for them, because that person is too caring,” he says. “People softer in nature may not do well in difficult medical situations. Such a person may keep the loved one alive on life support and may not accept the reality of the situation. It’s better to appoint someone who is less emotionally attached.”

It’s best to take the burden of making the life-ending decision away from your representative by making a document known as Advance Directive or Healthcare Directive, Gurdeep says. “This document communicates your wishes to health-care providers so that they honour your wishes.”

Illness and injury don’t send advance notice, he adds, urging, “Please, contact a notary public or a lawyer to look after these matters soon, not when you are in the hospital.”

If you’d like to contact Gurdeep to learn more about the Healthcare Directive, call his office for an appointment at 250-287-3445 or stop by at #101-160 10th Ave. in Campbell River.

Also read:

Appointing a power of attorney is essential

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