When it comes to your health, one aspect often overlooked is designating an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.
This person, known as your health care proxy, ensures that medical professionals respect and follow your wishes.
Understanding the role of a health care proxy
One study found that 67% of adults do not have a health care proxy. You need someone you trust implicitly to make medical decisions when you are unable to communicate your wishes.
Choosing the right candidate
Selecting the right person as your health care proxy is a decision that you should not take lightly.
The person you choose should be someone you trust implicitly. This individual should have a clear understanding of your values and be willing to advocate for your wishes.
Your proxy should be able to articulate your preferences to medical professionals and ask pertinent questions on your behalf. They should also be accessible and willing to be present during medical consultations or emergencies.
Your health care proxy should be well-acquainted with your health care preferences and capable of handling potential stress and emotional strain that may arise.
Open and honest communication
Once you have chosen a health care proxy, have a candid conversation with them about your values, beliefs and preferences regarding health care. Share any specific treatment preferences, such as organ donation or end-of-life care.
Documenting your decision
After careful consideration, document your choice of health care proxy in a legally recognized manner. This could involve filling out a specific form provided by your health care provider or following the guidelines of your local jurisdiction.
As time passes, review your choice of health care proxy periodically. Life circumstances and relationships may evolve, so ensure that your proxy is still the best person to represent your wishes.
Regular communication and documentation will ensure that your health care proxy is able to advocate for your preferences in any situation.