Table of Contents
- Download an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney Sample
- What is an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney?
- Who Should Have an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney?
- How to Select Your Agent(s)
- Decision Making Power of Your Agent
- What to Do if You Change Your Mind
- How to Complete an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney
1. Download an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney Sample
2. What is an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney?
As laid out in Title 13, Section 1337. of the Ohio Revised Code, an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney (or “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care”) is a document that appoints a person you trust (known as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to make health care decisions on your behalf, in the event that you lose the ability to make those decisions on your own. The person you appoint in your Ohio Medical Power of Attorney will make sure that health care providers will follow your agent’s instructions regarding your healthcare, as if the decisions were coming from you directly.
Below are a few important terms to keep in mind as you learn about the Ohio Medical Power of Attorney, as defined in 13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.11:
- Health Care: Any treatment, procedure, or service to diagnose or treat a person’s mental and/or physical condition.
- Health Care Facility: A hospital, hospice care program, nursing home, home health agency, intermediate care facility, or regulated mental health organization.
- Health Care Personnel: Physicians, nurses, physician assistants, medical technicians, administrators of health care facilities and other authorized people acting under the direction of an attending physician.
- Terminal Condition: An incurable condition caused by injury, disease or illness from which there can be no recovery.
It’s important to note that a Medical Power of Attorney is also referred to by other names, such as:
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Health Care Directive
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
3. Who Should Have an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney?
Completing an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney will answer vital questions such as:
- Who will carry out my medical wishes, in the event that I’m unable to communicate them?
- What type of treatment do I want to receive?
- What treatment do I not want to receive?
- Will my religious, moral, or other beliefs be followed in the course of my treatment?
Regardless of your age or health status, it’s important to be prepared for sudden, unforeseen medical emergencies. It can be difficult to imagine, but situations can arise in which you are unable to communicate your desires regarding your medical care. Such predicaments could include (but are not limited to):
- Being unable to communicate due to a coma
- Developing a form of dementia that leaves you unable to convey rational thoughts
- Suffering an injury that leaves you in a vegetative state
- An unforeseen complication occurs while you are under general anesthesia
Should such an event take place, an Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney will ensure that you’re treated according to your own wishes regarding your healthcare. By laying out your exact desires, it can also greatly assist your family with the enormous responsibility associated with making hard choices regarding a sick, debilitated loved one.
4. How to Select Your Agent(s)
You should appoint someone who you are sure will have your best interest, as well as your personal desires and convictions, in mind. It’s also important that the agent be someone who will be able to carry out their responsibilities in the midst of a difficult, painful situation.
This is, of course, an extremely personal decision. Make sure the person you choose as your agent understands what you’re asking them to do, and is willing to accept the responsibility. Overall, whoever you choose needs to be someone you trust.
Who can you select as your agent?
As specified in 13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.11-17, you may choose any competent adult age 18 or older as your agent, with certain restrictions as outlined below. This can even be a non-family member.
Who can you not select as your agent?
In Ohio, none of the following can be appointed as your agent in an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney:
- Your attending physician, as well as their employees and agents
- An administrator of a nursing home where you’re receiving care
- An employee or agent of any health care facility where you’re receiving care
- Anyone signing as a witness to the document
Can you have more than one agent?
Somewhat. Ohio allows you to choose a second person as an alternate agent, in case your first choice is unavailable, unable or unwilling to act as your agent (13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.12).
5. Decision Making Power of Your Agent
What Health Care Decisions Can Your Agent Make on Your Behalf?
Per 13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.13, your agent will have the authority to make all health care decisions for you, including (but not limited to):
- Whether to administer life support if you are in a coma
- When to continue or discontinue treatments
- What types of treatment will be allowed
- Organ donation decisions
- Selecting which doctors treat you
- Whether you may be resuscitated if you stop breathing or your heart stops
What Health Care Decisions is Your Agent Unable to Make on Your Behalf?
Your agent can make any decisions regarding your healthcare as if you yourself were making them, unless you limit the decisions they are able to make in your Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney.
If you wish to limit your agent’s decision-making ability, you must document those limitations in writing.
To expand your agent’s decision-making ability to include non-healthcare matters, such as financial transactions, use an Ohio general power of attorney form.
When is Your Agent Able to Begin Making Decision on Your Behalf?
As stated in 13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.13, your agent can begin to make health care decisions once your attending physician determines that you’ve lost the capacity to make informed health care decisions. Once that determination has been made, your agent gains the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf.
6. What to Do if You Change Your Mind
How Long is Your Ohio Medical Power of Attorney Effective?
The document is valid and enforceable as soon as it has been executed and lasts as long as you’re alive, unless you change or cancel it as outlined below.
How Do I Revoke an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney?
13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.14 states that you may cancel your Medical Power of Attorney at any time, and in any manner expressing an intent to revoke it. Creating a new Medical Power of Attorney will also revoke the previous one. Finally, you can provide an expiration date on the document, at which time it will be revoked.
7. How to Complete an Ohio Medical Power of Attorney
The requirements for executing a Health Care Power of Attorney are specified in 13 Ohio Rev. Code Sec. 1337.12. You must be an adult (age 18 or older), and of sound mind. You can either:
- Have the document notarized
- Sign the document in the presence of two adult witnesses who cannot be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption, and cannot be your attending doctor or the administrator of a nursing home where you are receiving care.
What to do with Your Ohio Medical Power of Attorney
To make sure that your wishes are known, you should give a copy of your Medical Power of Attorney to your agent, your doctor, your attorney, and any other important family, friends or acquaintances.
You should also consider keeping a copy on your person, such as in a purse or wallet, as well as with any other important personal documents. Remember to bring a copy with you if you are admitted to the hospital for any reason, even for outpatient procedures.