January 2013

A Health Care Proxy is a document which appoints someone (your “Agent”) to make health care decisions for you.  Your Agent’s authority is broad and includes the consent to or refusal of any medical treatment.   Usually, people name a spouse, if any, as the primary Agent, with a close family member or friend as the alternate if the primary Agent is unavailable.

Once you have identified your Agent, it is advisable to have a discussion with him or her about your wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment.   This can be a very difficult conversation to have, but is helpful for your agent, as well as your health care professionals, if and when end-of-life decisions need to be made.

Aging With Dignity, a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting better care for those near the end of life, has created a document known as Five Wishes in order to facilitate this conversation with a view towards each person’s medical, emotional and spiritual needs.  To learn more about Five Wishes and to download the document, click here http://www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php

Material presented on the King & Navins, P.C. website is intended for information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own personal situation.