As I mentioned in the last newsletter, my daughter is now a college freshman. We also recently celebrated another milestone with her, the 18th birthday. Though, Ashley is technically an adult, I know she has some years ahead before she is truly an adult with real responsibilities and maturity. With that in mind, I knew I didn’t want to be caught in an emergency situation where I was unable to help my daughter because of her “legal” adulthood. I once experienced a medical emergency nightmare with my unmarried adult brother whom was hospitalized in an incapacitated condition. Due to HIPPA privacy laws and no established health care directives, we could not see him, get any information, nor make any decisions about his care.
To be prepared in a healthcare emergency, a HIPPA release and Healthcare Directive are two forms that can be prepared in advance by your adult children or any adult. A signed HIPAA release permits healthcare providers to disclose your health information to anyone you specify. A stand-alone HIPAA form does not have to be notarized or witnessed.
An Advanced Healthcare Directive form allows you appoint an “agent” to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated and cannot make such decisions for yourself. You can also specify your wishes regarding life support. Each state has different laws and forms governing these legal documents. If your child is out of state, complete the away and home state forms. Here are the links to the state of California’s standard forms. Also be sure to check with your insurance company or Medical Provider if they have their own form to sign as well. I know Kaiser does.