Please be aware that what follows is just information, not advice. Every situation is different. If you have questions about your particular situation, please speak to an appropriate qualified healthcare or legal professional. More information about advance directive documents and the Colorado specific forms can be found on the Colorado Advance Directives Consortium website: www.ColoradoAdvanceDirectives.com or www.caringinfo.org.
♦ In Colorado, no one is automatically authorized to make healthcare decisions for another adult.
♦ The Medical Durable Power of Attorney (also called the “Power of Attorney for Healthcare”) is a document an individual (the principal) signs to appoint someone else to make the principal’s healthcare decisions in case of incapacity. The person appointed is called a “Healthcare Agent.”
♦ In most cases, the Healthcare Agent only makes decisions for the principal when he or she cannot. This may be temporary, following an accident or injury, or long term, if the principal is permanently incapacitated.
♦ The Healthcare Agent is authorized to request and review medical records, consult with the principal’s doctors and other healthcare providers, and make all necessary healthcare decisions.
♦ The Healthcare Agent is supposed to act according to the principal’s wishes and values, so whoever is appointed as agent must have a clear idea of the principal’s life values, goals, and preferences for treatment. The Healthcare Agent must be able to devote the time and energy to handling complex healthcare needs, perhaps over many years.
♦ A Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA) is not the same as a general Power of Attorney (POA). The MDPOA Agent is only authorized to make healthcare decisions. A general POA covers legal and financial affairs. The authority of both types of Healthcare Agent ends at the death of the principal