, Elder Law Attorney answers:
A licensed physician in Mass.
A primary care doctor, or other treating doctor during a hospitalization. A notation in the medical chart is typical. If necessary, the Proxy can request either a copy of the note or a more formal letter indicating the activation of the document.
By law, the determination of the agent's authority under the health care proxy is made by the person's attending physician (the doctor at the hospital)
Their attending physician.
, Geriatric Care Manager answers:
Re; Health Care Proxies(HCP)
In Massachusetts it the decision in writting by a physician to determine that an existing and appropriate HCP should be implemented.
The primary MD, or psychiatrist, is the only person who can decide if a person is competent; or has capacity. If guardianship is pursued, an MD is consulted for their evaluation; and the court decides if guardianship is to be granted. Hope this information is helpful!
All the prior answers are correct, possibly. However, the question asked who "finally decides"? if the principal, the person who signed the health care proxy, disagrees with the physician's assessment or the agent, the court finally decides. Only the court has final authority.
Under the provisions of the Massachusetts statute governing health care proxies, the determination that the elder lacks the capacity to make health care decisions is made by the attending physician. The determination is made in writing and is entered in the elder's permanent medical record.
If you are speaking of a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care decisions, it is most likely a physician who is uncomfortable that the patient cannot understand the explanation. Some documents include a decision making process; i.e., a spouse and a physician, a majority of the children and a physician, or two physicians.
Usually, two licensed physicians, primary and a geriatric psychiatrist, make this decision after an examination of the person.
The physician will make the determination.
Thank you for your question . The simple answer is that the treating physician makes the determination as whether a patient is competent to make his/her own health care decisions.
In addition to the treating physician, the Massachusetts Probate Court and the elder herself can decide that the Health Care Proxy take effect. In our experience, it is best to have an experienced elder law attorney engage the elder and the elder's family in a meaningful discussion of all the decisions that need to be made. Feel free to visit my website for a large directory of relevant elder care resources.
Treating physician/PCP will determine when Health Care Proxy should be invoked.
Under Massachusetts law, the treating physician makes an assessment of the elder's capacity. If she is found to be incapacitated, the physician must enter a note into her medical chart and give her a copy of that same note. This note activates the health care proxy.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me if you need further assistance.