Healthcare Proxy – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Elderly Legal and Financial Planning Glossary

What is a Healthcare Proxy?

A healthcare proxy, also known as a healthcare power of attorney or medical power of attorney, is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint someone else to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event that they are unable to do so themselves. This person, known as the healthcare proxy, is authorized to make decisions about the individual’s medical treatment, including decisions about life-sustaining treatment, if the individual is unable to communicate their wishes.

Who can be a Healthcare Proxy?

In most states, anyone over the age of 18 who is of sound mind can be appointed as a healthcare proxy. This person can be a family member, friend, or even a trusted advisor. It is important to choose someone who knows your wishes and values, and who you trust to make decisions in your best interest.

How is a Healthcare Proxy appointed?

To appoint a healthcare proxy, you must complete a legal document called a healthcare proxy form. This form must be signed in the presence of witnesses or a notary public, depending on the laws of your state. It is important to discuss your wishes with your healthcare proxy and provide them with a copy of the document so they are aware of their responsibilities.

What are the responsibilities of a Healthcare Proxy?

The responsibilities of a healthcare proxy include making medical decisions on behalf of the individual when they are unable to do so. This may include decisions about treatment options, surgery, medication, and end-of-life care. The healthcare proxy is required to make decisions based on the individual’s wishes, values, and best interests, as well as any instructions provided in the healthcare proxy document.

When does a Healthcare Proxy come into effect?

A healthcare proxy comes into effect when the individual is unable to make their own medical decisions. This may be due to illness, injury, or incapacity. The healthcare proxy is only authorized to make decisions when the individual is unable to communicate their wishes, and their authority ends when the individual regains the ability to make decisions on their own.

How can a Healthcare Proxy be revoked or changed?

A healthcare proxy can be revoked or changed at any time by the individual who appointed them. This can be done by completing a new healthcare proxy form and providing a copy to the healthcare proxy, as well as to any healthcare providers involved in the individual’s care. It is important to communicate any changes to your healthcare proxy and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities.