Patient Guide

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Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that lets you designate someone to act as your Health Care Agent.

The document gives the person you name the power to make MOST health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make informed health care decisions for yourself. This power is effective only if you lose the capacity to make informed health care decisions for yourself.

You may include specific limits on this person’s authority to make health care decisions for you. This person will NEVER be allowed to authorize “mercy killing,” euthanasia, or any procedure that would actually speed up the natural process of dying.

Authority of Your Health Care Agent

Your Health Care Agent GENERALLY will be authorized to make health care decisions for you to the same extent as you could for yourself, if you were able. This GENERALLY will include the authority to:

  • Give informed consent
  • Refuse to give informed consent
  • Withdraw informed consent to any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat a physical or mental condition

The person you designate will have to act consistently with your express desires. If your wishes are unknown, the person is required to act in your best interest. You may express your desires by including them in this document or by making them known in another manner, such as in a Living Will.

When acting under this document the Health Care Agent GENERALLY will have the same rights that you have to receive information about proposed health care, to review health care records, and to consent to the disclosure of health care records. You can limit that right in this document if you choose.

Your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care must be signed by you and dated. You may choose to have it notarized or witnessed by two people, but is not necessary under Washington state law.