Friday, April 3, 2009

Choosing Health Care Agent

In the event that you are unable to make decisions about your health, it's important to appoint someone who can.A health care agent is a person you choose in advance to make health care decisions for you in the event that you become unable to do so. A health care agent can help make medical decisions on your behalf at the end of life or any other time you are not able to communicate, such as if you are severely injured in an accident. A health care agent also may be called a health care proxy or surrogate or an attorney-in-fact. Choose someone you trust. Your agent needs to be willing and able to make potentially difficult decisions about medical treatment for you. Discuss your desires, values, fears, and preferences about medical care in various situations. The more your agent knows about you and your values, the more likely he or she will be to make the kinds of decisions you would make if you were able. By appointing a health care agent, you are clearly stating who has the authority to make health decisions on your behalf. If you do not have a health care agent or a living will, your family members may disagree about the type of medical care you should receive if you are ever in a situation where you cannot communicate.

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