Family authorizations

March 3, 2006

Our office, which sees many elderly patients, is once again updating our patient registration form. Is it a good idea to add a family authorization section that authorizes certain family members to discuss care on behalf of an elderly patient?

Q: Our office, which sees many elderly patients, is once again updating our patient registration form. Is it a good idea to add a family authorization section that authorizes certain family members to discuss care on behalf of an elderly patient?

A: Yes, it is. In the section, ask the patient to list the name and relationship of any person to whom medical information can be released without the patient being physically present. Also, to be on the safe side, consider adding a second section that lists which family members have been authorized to receive appointment reminders