Friday, April 18, 2014

Health Care Proxy

How do I get a health care proxy?

A health care proxy is a simple legal document that allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions for you, if, for any reason, you are unable to make these decisions yourself. The person you choose (your "agent") must be at least 18 years old, and should be someone you know and trust to act in your best interest. You can give your agent the authority to make all medical decisions for you, or you can limit your agent's authority by including a list of specific medical treatments you would accept or reject.

Your health care proxy will take effect only if your physician declares in writing that you are unable to make your own decisions. This could happen if you were unconscious or in a coma, or mentally incompetent, for example. Your agent would then be allowed to talk to your doctors about your health, and would have the authority to accept or refuse treatment for you.

You do not need a lawyer to complete a health care proxy. You can fill out the form yourself. The only requirement is that you sign your health care proxy in front of two adult witnesses. (Your agent cannot be a witness.) Once you have signed the form, you should give a copy to your agent, your doctors, family members, and any health centers where your medical records are kept. You may change your health care proxy at any time.

You can get more information and a copy of the health care proxy document online:
You can also get a health care proxy from your doctor, health clinic, or ASAP.
A health care proxy is also called a "durable power of attorney for health care." Rules about health care proxies can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 201D. HEALTH CARE PROXIES.

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