So April 16 was National Healthcare Decisions Day, part of an effort to encourage people to think about their health care preferences and choose somebody to express their wishes if they’re too sick to speak for themselves.
The need for an advance directive — a living will — is clear to many older people. But just 7 percent of people between ages 18 and 29 have one.
At age 18, a person is an adult for purposes of medical decision-making. Before leaving for college, he or she should sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act release form and a health-care proxy giving someone — usually a parent — the right to review personal medical information and make decisions in an emergency, says The Washington Post.
Otherwise, the young person’s loved ones may be locked out of information and decisionmaking, the Post says.
You can download the forms for your state at www.caringinfo.org.