How To be An Effective Healthcare Proxy

If you’ve been chosen as someone's Healthcare Proxy you may be stuck wondering what it all means. Luckily for you, we have some easy guidelines to follow!

These 3 steps should give you the information you need and the confidence in knowing that you can make the best decisions for the person you are representing when that time should come.

1. Make sure you are legally named as their Healthcare Proxy

The person who chose you to be their Healthcare Proxy needs to document this in writing. This can be done using a document such as the print-out from My Living Voice, which formally designates you as the proxy medical decision maker. In most states, this form must be witnessed and/or notarized to be legal.

It’s a good idea to get a copy of the signed Healthcare Proxy document, and be sure it has been shared with the person’s loved ones and healthcare team.

2. Know your role and what will be asked of you

As a Healthcare Proxy, you won’t need to speak for someone else until that person loses decision making capacity. But it’s important to talk with that person NOW about their:

• Values, goals, and preferences for medical care in life-or-death situations
• Wishes about receiving CPR, kidney dialysis, breathing machines, and feeding tubes
• Views regarding hospice and palliative care

Review these issues with them, and also find out if there is anyone they would (or would not) want you to speak with before you make medical decisions.

3. Review their advance directive document

The reason you should review a person’s advance directive with them is so that you can act with confidence if called upon to be their voice for medical decisions. Some documents, like the My Living Voice document, is designed to help patients and their Healthcare Proxy be clear about what should be done when life-or-death medical decisions must be made. But to do this, you need to talk with the person to make sure you fully understand their wishes.

Don't wait any longer to have this very important conversation! Give yourself the peace of mind in knowing that you can confidently make these important medical decisions for your loved one.