A Health Care Proxy is a simple legal document that allows you to name someone you know to be your Health Care Agent. This should be a trusted person as they will make health care decisions for you if, and only if, you are unable to make or communicate those decisions for yourself.
Your Health Care Agent’s authority to make health care decisions begins only after a determination is made that you lack the capacity to make or communicate your health care decisions. For example, if you are temporarily unconscious, in a coma, or have some other condition so that you cannot make or communicate health care decisions. This determination must be made in writing by your attending physician. You must be notified, it at all possible, of this determination. No decision of your Agent can go into effect if you object.
Your Health Care Agent will make decisions for you only after talking with your doctor or health care provider, and after fully considering all the options regarding diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of your illness or condition. It is important that you have an open and honest conversation with your Agent regarding your potential wishes and any moral or religious beliefs that may influence any medical decisions that may need to be made. If your Agent does not know what your wishes would be, your Agent would make decisions on what they believe would be in your best interest.
Once you execute your Health Care Proxy, keep the original for yourself in a safe place. Then distribute copies to your primary care doctor, your Agent and any alternative Agent identified in the Proxy. This way if there is an emergency, there will be no delay in your Agent’s authority being recognized.
You may cancel (revoke) your Health Care Proxy at any time simply by informing your Agent or your health care provider that you want to do so. However, it is always to put this in writing so there is proof that your named Health Care Agent no longer has the authority. You can also cancel your existing Health Care Proxy by executing a new Proxy.
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