News reports reveal that America is increasingly becoming a nation of single people. For adults navigating life solo, careful planning about who will make health care decisions on their behalf in the face of unforeseen, incapacitating illness is a smart decision, especially for singles who are childless, have minor children and/or are estranged from their families. One available option is an advanced directive called a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for health care. It allows singles to appoint an agent to step in and carry out their wishes when they are unable to make critical medical decisions for themselves.
Most states have enacted advanced directives legislation. This contract allows a person, called a principal, to designate to a selected agent the power to make decisions about the course of medical care should the principal become incapacitated. Decisions covered by a DPOA for health care include such things as the power to consent to or withdraw treatment for physical or mental conditions, or to determine when to initiate or terminate life-sustaining treatment.
Health care DPOA gives singles autonomy