CHN Health Matters

Do you have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

In healthcare, you may hear people talking about an important document called the Power of Attorney for Healthcare (POAHC). This is referred to as an advanced directive that gives healthcare providers direction and guidance to provide the care that an individual desires. The POAHC is filled out by an individual (referred to as the principal) while they are able to make decisions for themselves so they will have input into directing their care if and when they become unable to make decisions. 

The POAHC forms can be obtained online at or through a healthcare facility. A lawyer is not required to fill out the form. The form does require the principal to designate someone (identified as the POAHC agent) and also an alternate (in case the first person is not available) to make decisions if the need arises. 

The agent will have the authority to make decisions only if two healthcare professionals sign a Statement of Incapacitation stating the individual is unable to make their own decisions. When a person designates a POAHC agent, the principal still makes their own healthcare decisions while they are able.

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