Monthly Archives: July 2016

Who Makes Medical Decisions When A Child Turns 18?

If someone you love is about to turn eighteen, that’s the age a child becomes a legal adult in Georgia.  An eighteen year old may be graduating from high school, starting a first job, headed off to college, or just having fun.  The future is exciting and unknown, and no one is thinking about bad things that might happen.

But bad things do happen.  People have accidents, or fall ill.  If something happens to a young child, the parent or guardian has the legal right to make medical decisions.  What most people don’t realize though, is that as soon as someone turns eighteen, under the law, that eighteen year old is an adult.

Under the federal HIPAA privacy laws, health care providers are prohibited from disclosing an adult patient’s private medical information, unless authorized by the court through a legal guardianship, or authorized by the adult in writing. It doesn’t matter if you are a relative, even if you are the mother or father.

In a Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care, an agent is named to make all health care decisions if the injured or ill adult is unable to communicate his wishes, and the agent is authorized under the HIPAA privacy laws to have access to all private medical information.

Without this important legal document, families find themselves in court, filing for guardianship.  That process is expensive, delays access to needed medical information, and causes additional distress in a family already going through a difficult time.

The solution is simple.  Before an eighteen year old heads off to college, or out of the family home to an apartment, give him the gift of knowing his family will still be able to take care of him if he needs help.  Have him sign an Advance Directive for Health Care.  Having the document won’t prevent tragedy from happening, but it will enable a young adult to know he’ll have the protection of those who love him quickly available if it is ever needed.

Set up an appointment to create an Advance Directive for Health Care for your son or daughter today!  Click to contact us.