Your Health Care Agent

| By Jodi Horton

What are some traits you want to take into account when choosing a health care agent? Your health care agent is the person who will make your healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to speak for yourself.

Start by identifying the people you would trust with your medical decisions. When selecting a health care agent, you want to be certain the individual understands what you do and do not want for medical treatments. Have clear and upfront discussions with him or her about your wishes and goals. It’s also important to consider if the individual you choose will be able to communicate effectively with your doctors and advocate for your wishes, if necessary.

You can help your health care proxy by making sure you’ve completed your advance directives or living will. This will serve as a written guideline for your proxy, your physicians, and other family members. Make sure he or she has a copy of your advance directives.

Have these discussions with other family members, if necessary. Revisit your choices each year to see if you’ve changed your mind in any way. If you have decided to make changes, make sure to update your advance directives and that your healthcare agent has the most recent copy.

To name a health care agent and create some guidelines for medical care choices, use an advance directive document such as the Five Wishes. Click here to request a free copy from Casa de la Luz Foundation.

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