3. Healthcare Proxy or Healthcare Power of Attorney
When you are unable to speak for yourself, you need to have someone legally authorized to speak for you. This person is your healthcare proxy and should know you well, be trusted to do what you want, and be able to remain focused in a crisis. A healthcare proxy is also called healthcare power of attorney.
Your healthcare proxy could be your spouse, another family member or a good friend. When you choose your healthcare proxy, tell the people closest to you who you have chosen. Explain that your proxy’s decisions reflect your discussions with him or her. Ask your survivors to respect your proxy’s decisions. Make sure your survivors understand that your proxy is speaking for you at your request. You can revoke your proxy at any time, in writing or verbally with your doctor.
Be aware that asking someone to be your healthcare proxy is asking them to take on a huge responsibility. Take the time to decide what you want and then sit down with them and discuss the different situations that could potentially come up. If your proxy is uncomfortable making life and death decisions, you need to know. You must either select another proxy or trust them to do what they believe is best at the time.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
The Legacy Writer website provides forms for each state. There is a $20 charge to complete the form online.
Healthcare Proxy Quiz
The American Bar Association offers a healthcare proxy quiz that helps you clarify your wishes for End of Life care. Ask your proxy to take the quiz and then discuss the answers to clarify any points of disagreement.
Guide for Health Care Proxies
The American Bar Association offers an excellent booklet that gives more complete information about acting as a healthcare proxy. Consider giving your proxy a copy and discussing any concerns or issues.
Now, take a few minutes to answer these questions.
- Who do I want to be my healthcare proxy? Why?
- What are the main points I want to discuss with my proxy?
- Who do I need to inform of my proxy selection?
- Do my family and loved ones understand my decisions for my AHD?