Advance Health Care Directives are often overlooked for young adults.
At age 18, a parent’s access to health care information and decision making is limited. Thus, a young adult should be prepared with the proper legal documents.
Make sure your young adult signs a Power of Attorney for Health Care naming you responsible for medical decisions when he is not able to make them for himself. This document goes into effect if your doctor determines that the person lacks the capacity to make their own health care decisions. Access a Power of Attorney for Health Care form at Caringinfo.org
A HIPAA waiver, which allows medical information and records to be shared with you, may also be necessary. If a young adult becomes ill and is hospitalized, a parent’s first reaction is to call the hospital to find out their condition. The doctor will not be able to provide any information to you, unless your child has signed a HIPAA waiver. At a time when your young adult may need support, you will be in the dark on the seriousness of their conditions. You can access a HIPAA waiver here.
Requirements vary from state to state so, if your child will be moving away, check the regulations and forms for that state.
Bottom line, your child should define her health care wishes in writing. A Health Care Power of Attorney and HIPAA waiver are the basic tools to allow you to make informed medical decisions on your child’s behalf.
In the midst of college planning, take a few moments to have a serious conversation with your young adult and have them complete the forms. Remember to keep them in a safe place, so they are easily accessible if they are needed.