Patient Advocate Designations

Patient Advocate Designations

Many times, an individual becomes ill and is unable to communicate his or her wishes regarding health care decisions. A patient advocate designation allows an individual to designate a patient advocate to make medical decisions on his or her behalf when he or she is unable to communicate his or her own wishes. A patient advocate also allows individuals to make pre-determined choices regarding life support, thereby telling family members what his or her wishes are regarding difficult life support decisions.
 
 
A patient advocate avoids the need to appoint a Guardian to make medical decisions. See MCL 700.5306 which states, “If the court is aware that an individual has executed a patient advocate designation under Section 5506, the court shall not grant a guardian any of the same powers that are held by the patient advocate.” However, MCL 700.5306 provides an exception to this rule if: (a) the patient advocate designation was not executed properly; or (b) the patient advocate is acting improperly.
 
A patient advocate also provides family members with directions regarding life support, decreases the response time for making medical decisions because there is no need for court involvement and the treating physician knows who has the authority to make medical decisions.