Your health care proxy is an advanced medical directive that assigns a person you choose to make medical decisions for you if you no longer care for yourself. This proxy can be anyone you want to control those decisions, but you should choose someone who understands your medical conditions and what you would want to see happen in a medical emergency where you could not speak for yourself.
It’s important to set up your health care proxy as soon as possible. You should have a proxy as soon as you turn 18. Why? It’s at this age that a medical provider can no longer provide information to your relatives without your permission. They may also not ask your family for guidance, and instead make decisions directly based on your current health condition and their understanding of it.
What kinds of responsibilities will your health care proxy have?
Your health care proxy will have responsibilities such as:
- Choosing which hospital you are taken to in an emergency
- Reviewing your medical chart
- Communicating with your family about your medical condition
- Asking questions about your condition and treatment options
- Agreeing to or declining life-support treatment
There are many other things they will do as well. That’s why it’s so important to select a health care proxy who has your best interests at heart and understands your preferences in seeking medical care. You want someone who will follow your requests and understand the nuances of treatment options so that you have the best support possible when you cannot make those decisions on your own behalf.
Set up your health care proxy as soon as you can. There is no way to know when they’ll be needed. An experienced attorney can help you learn more.