Some dementia diagnoses and certain chemotherapy side-affects for cancer patients are being treated more often with what are defined as “intrusive mental health treatments” in Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. § 145C.05, subd. 2(a)(6))– here’s the link to this Minnesota Statute. “Intrusive treatments” include Neuroleptic / (Anti-Psychotic) Drug Treatments, among other things. As we get to know more about specific types of dementia and side-affects of certain chemotherapies, the medical profession has identified certain conditions that respond well to neuroleptic drug treatments. It is important to consider whether you wish to give your health care agent the specific authority to make these treatment choices for you. And, there are special drafting requirements to validate this authority.
Why such concern and special drafting requirements? Because Minnesota law considers certain mental health treatments and admissions to facilities for mental health treatment to be particularly “intrusive” and, therefore, of particular concern to see that the patient’s rights and preferences are adhered to and appropriate oversight is offered. For example, if someone is a ward of the state (under Guardianship), the Guardian must ask special permission of the court to authorize these types of “intrusive treatments.” Additionally, the Health Care Directive (HCD) Statute reflects that same concern and requires that anyone wishing to give authority to their agents to authorize these specific treatments must include a provision in their HCD document and provide two witnesses who will attest to the principal’s wishes on the subject.
For those of you who have already executed a HCD, you know that in Minnesota the document can be either witnessed or notarized to be legally valid. But, in order for this special instruction to be valid, it must be specifically included as a provision, and witnessed and attested to. For those of you who have not yet executed a HCD, perhaps your strong feelings on the subject will propel you to your nearest Estate Planning or Elder Law attorney, who can assist you with your important considerations to address in your HCD.
None of us knows what kind of assistance we will need in the future, if any, with making our health care choices. Be prepared, and thoroughly think through whom you would like to authorize as your health care agent, and which choices you would like them to be able to exercise on your behalf if you are unable to decide for yourself.This blog is written by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Attorney DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC www.decorolaw.com