I receive your newsletter and have a question. How does one in Israel establish advanced health directives in the case of cognitive impairment, DNR orders and so on? I am very ill with a number of significant health problems but my situation is quite stable. My wife’s health is very good. We have our wills completed but we want to clearly specify our last wishes in terms of health directives.
Maccabi has told us that we simply have to go to our doctors and they have a form for this very purpose which must be witnessed by two people who know us. This system is so different from what we were used to in the states. Does this procedure have legal standing? Will a hospital accept this method of advanced health directives? Should we seek out a trained lawyer to draw up this document?
My wife and I don’t like to wait for an emergency in order to get things accomplished. A crisis is not the time to be running around and getting documents drawn up. We would appreciate any help you can offer.
Deliberating in Dimona
You are quite smart to pursue these things now. Below are your options in Israel:
There is the simple POA (power of attorney) that one can sign that grants someone else to represent you either in financial and/or health matters, either generally or with specific bodies, depending on your preference. You must be of sound mind and body for that to be endorsed.
There is also the simple health proxy which you can complete and names someone to be in charge of your health decisions and includes a DNR order if chosen. Only your doctor has to sign off on this one.
Then there is a new document, called durable POA or “yipui coach mitmashech” ייפוי כח מתמשך which will grant someone POA over all your domain, even if you are temporarily incapacitated (stroke, car accident, etc..).
If you become permanently incompetent (dementia, coma, etc..) then even this POA is not binding and someone must retain guardianship over you. You can determine, however, who would be your guardian, in the durable POA.
The regular POA form and health proxy are easy to complete and accessible. The durable POA and guardianship request need to be completed with an attorney who’s been trained to prepare that document. Not all lawyers have had that training.
Yours in health,
Ask Aviva #18: Why is the hospital discharging my mother if she isn’t well enough?