On March 16, 2010, the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA) was signed into law. This act which applies to patients in hospitals and nursing homes sets forth those individuals who will be given the power to make health care decisions for a loved one in the event that the loved one is incapable of making such decisions personally and did NOT previously appoint a health care agent or set forth their wishes in a Living Will.
Upon a finding of incapacity by medical professionals, or in some cases, by a court of law, the following individuals, in order of priority, will be allowed to make health-care decisions for an incapable loved one in a hospital or nursing home:
- an MHL Article 81 court-appointed guardian;
- the spouse or domestic partner;
- an adult child;
- a parent;
- a brother or sister; or
- a close friend.
Such health-care decisions are to be made based upon the patient’s wishes, including the patient’s religious and moral beliefs, if such wishes are known. If the patient’s wishes are unknown, the health-care decisions are to be made based upon the patient’s best interests.
The FHDCA will not apply when a patient has already designated a health care agent. With a properly executed Health Care Proxy and Living Will, an individual may state his or her wishes and choose the individual whom he or she would like to make his or her health care decisions, in the unfortunate event that, he or she is no longer capable of making such decisions.
Laidlaw Firm offers free initial consultations. Please contact Laidlaw Firm at (914) 767-0646 or email Moira Laidlaw at email@example.com for more information about appointing a health care agent.