In Minnesota, the Health Care Directive has simplified complications involved in legacy powers of attorney. It allows you to appoint another person, your agent, to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to do so. You give written instructions about what you want done under which conditions and your agent implements them as required. Health Care Directives simplify the process of fulfilling your wishes even when you are not able to decide at that time for yourself.
Clarify Your Wishes With A Health Care Directive
Can you imagine the peace of mind in your loved ones if you are suddenly struck down and facing complicated health care decisions, but your health care agent directed them with your written directives? Suppose, however, that your ex-wife wants to visit you and your agent favors your current wife and she doesn't want to allow the visit. What happens if your agent simply dislikes somebody come to visit you? Just how far does the health care directive extend? What are the rights of the visitor?
Nursing Homes And The Health Care Directive
Residential rights in nursing homes are governed by the Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 483.10:
(j) Access and visitation rights.
(1) "The resident has the right and the facility must provide immediate access to any resident by the following: … subject to the resident's right to deny or withdraw consent at any time, immediate family or other relatives of the resident; and … subject to reasonable restrictions and the resident's right to deny or withdraw consent at any time, others who are visiting with the consent of the resident."
Health Care Directive And The Health Care Agent
If you do not choose a health care agent, and you become too sick to make your own decisions, your doctors will ask your closest family members to make these decisions for you. This is why it is so important for you to name the person you want to be your agent. Your health care agent can:
- agree to
- say no to
any of the following:
- doctors, nurses, social workers
- hospitals, clinics, care facilities
- medications, tests, treatments
- what happens to your body and organs after you die
Visitors And The Health Care Directive
What rights does the visitor have? The health care agent may know the rights or may not be clear on the limitations of your health care directive. Nevertheless, what if he still does not allow a visitor to enter? Most of us are not likely to know our visitor rights either. Clearly, an elderly visitor might not know or might be unable to remember their access and visitation rights.
The Health Care Directive Directs Health Care
The definitive recourse for the visitor is the health care directive itself. Health care directives allow agents to make health care decisions for the grantor. If a visit from an individual is not detrimental to the grantor, the agent must allow the visit to take place. The agent does not have the power to forbid visitation.
Hospital Visitation And The Health Care Directive
Rules for hospitals are governed by Title 42 CFR Sections 482 & 485. There are some recent changes in the federal rules regarding the rights of non-traditional family members visiting patients in hospitals. These rules require hospital policies to assure patients that they can be visited by the people to whom they are closest, even if there is no formally recognized relationship.