Health Care Proxies
A Health Care Proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care, is a type of legal document that allows a person (the principal) to appoint another person (the health care agent or proxy) to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions themselves.
The appointed person can make a wide range of health care decisions, including consenting to or refusing any medical treatment, accessing medical records, admitting or discharging the principal from a medical facility, and deciding on measures for pain relief, among other things.
The proxy’s authority begins only when a doctor certifies that the principal is unable to make their own medical decisions.
Just like with other legal documents, the specifics can vary by state, so it’s important to consult with a legal professional when considering a Health Care Proxy. Also, it’s crucial to have a thorough conversation with the person you’re considering as your health care agent to make sure they understand your wishes and are willing and able to act on your behalf if necessary.