What is a Health Care Proxy?

What is a Health Care Proxy by skb attorneys health care proxy document

What is a Health Care Proxy?

What happens if you can’t make your own medical decisions? That’s where a Health Care Proxy comes in. This legal document allows you to nominate someone to make medical treatment decisions for you.

How it Works

The Health Care Proxy names a person you nominate to act on your behalf and provides explicit instructions about your medical care wishes. This ensures that your health care choices regarding treatment are made in accordance with your requests.

The proxy goes into effect only when you become incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions on your own. Should you become coherent and regain your mental abilities, the proxy will no longer be in effect and you can then make your own choices. Typically a doctor will determine your mental status.

What to include in the Health Care Proxy

You should specify what type of treatment you do or do not want. This could include refusing or authorizing:

  • Life support
  • Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)
  • Long-term care
  • Life-sustaining care
  • Palliative (comfort) care
  • Pain management
  • Certain medical procedures
  • Surgery

Additionally, you could include certain restrictions relative to your proxy’s access to your medical records and other pertinent information. The Health Care Proxy is a clean slate, so you can include anything you want.

Choosing a Proxy

A proxy, or an agent, is the person you choose to act on your behalf. You should choose someone you completely trust to honor and carry out your wishes and make appropriate choices. This person should be assertive, be fully aware of your medical treatment preferences, and be able to effectively communicate with your doctor. You may also choose a backup proxy if your first choice is unable or not available to perform their duty.

If you don’t have a Health Care Proxy

Should you have a heart attack, a stroke, or involved in an accident that renders you unconscious, your doctor is required to perform life-saving treatment. If you do not want heroic actions such as having a respirator, feeding tube, or other types of treatment or care, these will be performed if you cannot speak for yourself.

There are instances that family members may not agree on medical treatment, especially in an emergency situation. If your wishes are not spelled out in a Health Care Proxy, you may receive treatment you do not want.

Let us Prepare Your Health Care Proxy

Contact us at SKB Law so we may create your Health Care Proxy. In order for your choices to be carried out, a legal, Health Care Proxy will protect your wishes.