Health Care Surrogate
If an illness, accident, or aging make you unable to direct your own medical care, having a health care surrogate can ensure you receive the care you desire.
Selecting a health care surrogate is an important decision. Choose someone who:
Will assertively represent your wishes
Is calm yet persistent
Can be with you if necessary
A Health Care Surrogate represents your wishes regarding health-related decisions:
A Health Care Surrogate consults with appropriate health care providers
A Surrogate provides informed consent and makes only health care decisions which he/she believes you would have made under the same circumstances
Represents your best interests
FAQs about health care surrogates
1What is a health care surrogate?
A health care surrogate, also referred to as a health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney, is someone you appoint to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to express your preferences about medical treatment when you are incapable of making these decisions for yourself. Generally, one person is appointed as your health care surrogate, but identifying alternate surrogates is a good idea in the event your appointed person is unavailable.
2How do I decide who should be my health care surrogate?
Selecting a health care surrogate is a difficult decision. This person will have access to your medical information, medical records, diagnosis, prognosis, benefits and risks of treatment, and consequences of care. Think about the people you know and identify someone whom:
Would be willing to speak on your behalf
Would act on your wishes even if he/she doesn't agree with them
Lives nearby or could travel to be with you when needed
Is someone you trust completely
Is someone you talk to about sensitive issues, and knows what's important to you
Will likely be available when you need them, even years from now
Could handle conflicting opinions between family, friends, and medical personnel
Can handle difficult situations and deal effectively with doctors, hospitals, and other people related to you and your care
3Who cannot be a health care surrogate?
State rules vary, but generally the following people cannot act as a health care surrogate:
Anyone under the age of 18
Your health care provider, including the owner/operator of a health or residential of community care facility serving you - unless this person is your spouse or close relative
An employee of your health care provider - unless this person is your spouse or close relative
4What decisions can a health care surrogate make?
With advanced planning, you can specify the decisions your health care surrogate can make on your behalf. Generally, surrogates make decisions for you based on the wishes you share with them prior to being incapacitate. Decisions may include: