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Get your students to sign health care proxies!

chrismchrism Registered User Posts: 637 Member
edited November 2007 in Parents Forum
I've been trying to spread the word about the need for older teens/young adults (18 and older) to have health-care proxies. Now comes an article that articulates the need very well.

The Ithaca Journal - www.theithacajournal.com - Ithaca, NY

I had my daughter sign one when I casually asked my lawyer "but if anything happened to my daughter, as her mother I would be the one making health care decisions for her, right?" and the lawyer answered - "not necessarily".

Chris
Post edited by chrism on

Replies to: Get your students to sign health care proxies!

  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 30,338 Super Moderator
    The linked article has some further links to state-specific documents that can be used to create the proxies. Very helpful!
  • quareidfaciamquareidfaciam Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    Our son has very complicated medical history so we are all too familiar with the crap shoot that medical decisions can be. As his parents, we would like to be the ones to roll the dice. Fortunately, he trusts us to do this. Thanks for the critical reminder.
  • originaloogoriginaloog Registered User Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    I have to admit that the health privacy laws applying to family members drives me nuts, well not really but it is annoying. Why couldn't they have done it in reverse so that a patient could keep certain health issues/proceedures private.

    But yes the signing a proxy would be a good idea for all family members, whether or not they were away at college.
  • cocomomcocomom Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Excellent information. My friend's D got a concussion while away at school, and my friend had a very difficult time getting any information from doctors. D was in pain and woozy from medication for days and was not in the mood to share any details with her mom. They finally got a relative from a nearby town to accompany the daughter to the doctor for a follow up visit and get information for the family. My friend since learned that the school (BYU) has a form available for the daughter to sign allowing her parents access to her medical information.

    I haven't had time to read all the information on the link provided in the article (to the website where you can get the proxy for each state). Does this proxy come into play only when the individual is unconscious?
  • oaklandmomoaklandmom Registered User Posts: 1,076 Senior Member
    cocomom,
    CaringInfo.org: Advance Directives - State AD Download will give you the link to advanced directives for each state. Reading through it, it seems important to note that you need a separate form for any state your child may require health care in. So if your child attends school out of state, it seems you need a form for the state you live in and the state in which your D or S attends school.
  • oaklandmomoaklandmom Registered User Posts: 1,076 Senior Member
    Also, it may vary by state, but I read through the form for California and it says it comes into play when an individual can not make decisions as determined by their primary care physician, though in California an individual can also have the power to make medical decisions transfered to another person at anytime if they wish.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 30,338 Super Moderator
    oaklandmom, in most states one can transfer decision-making power to another at any time, but that's not part of a "health care proxy". What you're talking about is a Health Care Power of Attorney, which is a slightly different document and should probably have different legal jargon. It indicates the individual is competent to make the decisions, but chooses not to do so. It also requires specific language to make it a "durable" Power of Attorney so that it may retain effect if the individual becomes incompetent, when in most states the power of attorney is revoked by law.

    And then, of course, one can give access to medical information and allow medical personnel to discuss the situation with others, including parents, without ceding decision making at all. That consent should be contained in yet another document.
  • Bob SmithBob Smith Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    *ALL* parents should have their children sign these forms regardless of whether you think they will be needed. My daughter has developed a serious mental illness at college which has caused her to become hostile and uncooperative. She refuses to seek treatment.

    Many colleges do not disclose the existence of the forms that need to be signed. This was true in our case. We had no clue. As a result, we have been unable to work cooperatively with the college to get her help. Our daughter's safety has been jeopardized.

    Not only health forms (HIPPA, FERPA) need to be signed, but also forms allowing the school to discuss your child's academic progress and billing information. There may be more. Colleges probably find it easier to not deal with all the paperwork. That's why the law should be changed to "opt out" for family members.

    It is important to help launch our children into independent adulthood without interfering too much. However, problems do occur and it's best to be prepared. I wish my family had not been so naive, particularly since 18-20 is the age at which many serious mental illnesses surface.

    PS We do have an advanced directive for my daughter. It is not helpful in this case. What we will need going forward is a durable medical power of attorney.
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