Through the use of a health care proxy document, an individual can appoint someone else, known as a health care agent, to make important health-related decisions should the individual become incapable of making the decisions for him or herself. Generally, a health care agent is a close relative or trusted friend–someone who will guard your best interests should an occasion arise in which you are unable to do so for yourself.
As soon as an individual reaches the age of majority, he or she should appoint a health care agent. In the event that you suffer an unexpected injury or illness, rendering you incapable of determining your own course of healthcare, a health care agent can act in your best interests while you are incapacitated. Upon regaining full capacity, you also regain full decision-making. This form of health care proxy serves as a safety net in case the unexpected happens.
Designating a health care agent through proxy is also essential for estate planning. In the event that you are rendered permanently unable to make competent decisions for your own well-being, a trusted health care agent will serve as your liaison to your medical caregivers. And because you yourself have appointed this agent, you will have the comfort of knowing that he or she will act based on your previously expressed directives.
Growing old is difficult both for individuals and for their families. By utilizing a health care proxy in advance, you can be sure that your unique care plan is followed. You can also be sure to avoid difficult processes and decisions for your family. Setting up a health care proxy is a necessary aspect of both emergency preparedness and long-term planning. Setting it up as soon as possible leaves you with one less concern in both the near and distant future.