By Tiana Rivera
In a blink of an eye 18 years can pass by. You only have 6,574 days before your child wakes up one day with the right to vote and sign legally binding contracts. While this is the dawn of their adulthood, your right to their medical information has suddenly been restricted. This is a time where your child is preparing to attend college or start a full-time job. You may be listed as the emergency contact, but without certain signed legal documents, medical staff will not be able to discuss the situation with you during an emergency. What will happen if your child becomes incapacitated and cannot give their consent? This post outlines three healthcare documents your adult children should sign to protect them from risk.
Missing Healthcare Documents Pose Unnecessary Risk
According to the National Safety Council around 40,000 people lost their lives to a car accident in 2018 and 4.5 million were seriously injured. With odds like that the unthinkable is very possible. Are you prepared to face a hospital staff that refuses to give information about your own adult child when you could provide critical life saving details instantly? With so many things happening as your child takes flight into adulthood, it’s unnecessary to risk limiting your ability to help them during an emergency.
Healthcare Documents Your Adult Children Should Sign
One key milestone requirement missing from most young adults’ checklists is having someone authorized to make healthcare decisions (usually their parents) and the forms needed to bring that authorization to life. Healthcare documents your adult children should sign before your kiddos takes their leap are:
- HIPAA Authorization Form
- Health Care Powers of Attorney
- Living Will (Advance Care Directives)
HIPAA Authorization Form
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), protects the confidentiality of medical information. The act prohibits healthcare providers from releasing information to anyone other than the patient. This means if a college aged student is injured and unresponsive, doctors cannot provide his or her parents with any healthcare information without prior approval. Even if the parents are desperately searching for their child, the hospital may refuse to confirm or deny whether their child is admitted.
In 2013, Sean Meyers’ parents were refused details of their adult child’s medical care when he was critically injured in a car accident on the way to their house. After a ten day stay in the hospital, during which hospital staff did not communicate openly with Sean’s parents, he went home to recover. A week later, he collapsed and died from blood clots and an enlarged heart. The gut-wrenching question for his parents is: would Sean have lived if the hospital staff would have known about his family history of blood clots? How much did hospital staff know? If hospital staff would have communicated with the Meyers about Sean’s injuries, would his life have been saved?
A universal HIPAA release gives the necessary approval that may have saved Sean Meyers’ life. Everyone listed on the form is able to know about their loved one’s health status, which can alleviate stress of the unknown in a time of crisis.
Health Care Powers of Attorney
Health Care Powers of Attorney identify who will act as a person’s healthcare agent if they cannot make decisions for themselves. This gives the agent (most likely the parent) the legal authority to make decisions about care and ensures the patient’s wishes are communicated when they can’t voice it themselves.
Living Wills and Advance Care Directives
Living Wills are a type of Advance Care Directives, which are legal documents that are very clear about the medical treatments you would and would not want in a limited set of circumstances. A Living Will usually covers such topics as the lengths hospital staff should go through to keep you alive, pain management, and organ donation. It gives your family guidance for the toughest decisions they may ever need to make.
Healthcare Document Benefits for Legacy Protection Plan Members
Taking care of these three healthcare documents your adult children should sign will ensure they are not alone, you are informed, and hospital staff is able to communicate with you in case of an emergency. Clients who are members of our Legacy Protection Plan receive free HIPAA releases, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills (Advance Care Directives) for their adult children ages 18 – 26. This saves members $500 per adult child and provides peace of mind that unnecessary barriers have been circumvented before an emergency occurs.
Speaking of Healthcare decisions: have you communicated your own healthcare decisions to your family? If you are a Legacy Protection Plan member, Join Catherine for an exclusive workshop on Taking Control of Your Healthcare Decisions as she outlines key steps to take to ensure your healthcare decisions are known and honored through each stage of your life. Not a Legacy Protection Plan member? Check out the valuable benefits you could receive in this pre-recorded Legacy Plan Protection webinar.