People of all ages and health conditions may benefit from creating estate plans, including advance directives. Advance directives, such as a health care power of attorney, may provide valuable guidance in the event of incapacitating injuries or illness. Through a health care power of attorney, people may name health care proxies or agents to make decisions for them if they cannot voice their wishes themselves.
Using care when selecting their health care proxies may help people choose the right people to take on this substantial responsibility.
Choose someone who meets the requirements
According to MayoClinic.org, when creating advance directives, people may name health care proxies that meet the necessary state requirements. For instance, the state may require such advocates to be of a certain age. With few exceptions, people may not choose their physicians or other members of their medical care teams to serve as their health care agents.
Select an advocate who will make the tough choices
When choosing a health care proxy, people may consider whether their chosen representatives will make difficult decisions. Part of acting as a health care proxy may involve making decisions that do not align with their own beliefs. For example, health care agents who would choose to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation themselves may have to enforce do not resuscitate orders for principals who have indicated they do not want that type of medical treatment.
Pick someone open to talking
According to WebMD.com, when choosing a health care proxy, people may select friends, family members or acquaintances open to talking about end-of-life decisions. No one can anticipate every possible scenario when creating an advance directive. By selecting someone willing to talk about their wishes and values when it comes to life-saving medical treatment, people may ensure their patient advocates will make decisions based on their beliefs.
Considering end-of-life decisions when otherwise healthy may seem unnecessary. However, having health care proxies and other advance directives in place may ensure people’s wishes get carried out, even if an injury or illness prevents them from speaking for themselves.