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When can a patient advocate be designated in Michigan?

In Michigan, those who are seeking to have a patient advocate designated need to understand what the law says about this decision, and how it can be completed legally. If the proper rules are not followed, then it might be disallowed. A person who is 18-years-old or older and is deemed to be of sound mind when making the patient advocate designation can place another individual who is 18 or older to be in charge of various issues for the person making the designation. These include care, custody and treatment. The patient advocate will also have the right to donate parts of the person's body after death.

In order for this to be legal, it must meet the following criteria: it must be in writing; it must be signed; it must be witnessed; it has to be dated; the person naming the patient advocate must do so willingly; prior to it being put in place, the attending physician of the patient or the mental health professional who treats the patient, the facility where the patient is cared for, or the program that is providing care to the patient must place it into the record.

There must be a statement that the authority can be exercised when the patient can no longer take part in his or her own decisions for treatment, whether it is medical or mental health related. There have to be two witnesses who cannot be the designator's spouse, parent, sibling, presumptive heir, grandchild, insurance provider, physician, or member of the health facility that is providing treatment. The patient must be considered of sound mind when the document is signed, and it must be done without fraud, undue influence or duress.

Those who are considering having a patient advocate need to understand the various legal aspects of it and how it can be completed correctly. Considering the assistance of a legal professional who is experienced in designating a patient advocate, formulating a power of attorney, a medical power of attorney and an estate plan may be wise when moving forward with this type of decision.

Source: legislature.mi.gov, "700.5506 Designation of patient advocate; 'community mental health services program or hospital' defined," accessed on Aug. 9, 2016

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