A Rhode Island medical power of attorney form authorizes a principal to nominate an agent to make all their healthcare decisions if they can no longer do so. The usual choices for the agent are the principal’s spouse, child, close friend, or relative. In Rhode Island, unless the agent is related to the principal, the individual cannot be a medical professional involved in the principal’s treatment or care. Local availability to be at the principal’s bedside if and when the time comes is an important factor in choosing an agent to ensure that decisions are made as fast as possible.
A second option besides the use of an agent is to create a living will. This document allows the principal to, instead of selecting an agent, specify end-of-life treatments for themselves if they should become incapacitated to the point where they are no longer mentally capable of making decisions for themselves.