A healthcare proxy is like an emergency contact for your life.
It’s someone you trust to medical decisions for you in the event you couldn’t speak for yourself. If you’re 18 and older, you should have a healthcare proxy—even if you’re young and healthy.
Your proxy is “activated” only when a doctor judges that you aren’t able to make or communicate your own decisions.
- Choose a proxy
Your proxy can be a family member, friend, or anyone who you would trust to carry out your wishes. Ask them if they’re willing to accept this responsibility. It’s a big decision and an honor!
- Share your wishes
Talk with your proxy about what you’d want. Remember that the role of a proxy is to make decisions based on what you would actually want, not what your proxy would want for you or in your place. Showing them your CAKE cards and profile is a great way to start.
Some sample questions to talk about:
- What would be important to you if you were seriously ill?
- What things make life worth living for you? What could you not live without?
- What are your opinions on aggressive care like CPR and being on a breathing machine?
- Designate a healthcare proxy:
Designate your proxy online at myproxie.org! All you need is their name, email, and address—and it’ll do the work for you.
Or you can download and fill out the healthcare proxy form for your state and have it signed by two witnesses. In the form you can:
- Include any limits you want on your proxy’s ability to make decisions.
- Name an alternate proxy. This person steps into the role if for some reason your first proxy can’t make decisions for you.
- Go on record
Tell your doctors about your proxy and give them a copy, so they can add it to your medical record. You should also give a copy to your proxy and your lawyer.
- Changed your mind?
Let your healthcare proxy and doctor know, either in writing or telling them in person. You can designate another proxy at any time and this will revoke the older version.
- Encourage your family and friends to designate their proxy!
Photo credit: CNN Money