Although it might seem early to have this document, a document you’ll want to put together soon is a health care directive for your college-aged child. If they’re over the age of 18, they’re legally an adult. That means that any medical information provided about them might be off-limits to you if you don’t have the role as their health care proxy.
A health care directive is essential for college-aged children. They should sign them, and you should keep copies, so that there is a way for you to make decisions for them if they’re hurt or ill. You also want to be guaranteed access to their medical records, so you can assist them if needed in a medical emergency.
Which documents should you have your child fill out?
Your college student needs to complete a HIPAA release and a medical power of attorney at the very least. An advanced health care directive is also a good document to have.
The HIPAA form will allow information about the adult child’s medical care with the family members they choose. This is highly restrictive, in most cases, so your child will be able to decide which documents are shared and when.
A medical power of attorney is the next document to address. They can select someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they’re ill or injured and can’t speak for themselves. For example, if they’re involved in a car crash, then the medical power of attorney (health care proxy) will be able to step in and make emergency medical decisions with the help of the medical providers working on the case.
Finally, establish an advance health care directive. This directive will let doctors and the health care proxy know what the student does or does not want to have happen with their care. For example, if your child does not want to be resuscitated because of a terminal illness, then an advanced health care directive, also known as a living will, will be able to make those wishes clear to you and to your child’s medical team.
These three documents are important for any legal adult to have. They define their medical care and who can help make decisions for them.