health-care proxy

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health-care proxy,

legal document in which a person assigns to another person, usually called an agent or proxy, the authority to make medical decisions in case of incapacitation. It is, in essence, a power of attorney for health care. In many cases, the health-care proxy is used in conjunction with a living willliving will
or advance health care directive,
legal document in which a person expresses in advance his or her wishes concerning the use of artificial life support and other medical treatment should the person be unable to communicate such wishes due the effects of
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 that spells out the person's wishes regarding the extent of life-sustaining treatment desired at the end of life. It differs from a living will, however, in that the chosen agent has the authority to deal with any medical situation that may arise, not just end-of-life situations, and in that the agent can deal with circumstances not foreseen by the person in a living will. A health-care proxy gives a next of kin or other family member additional authority to make decisions; it can also be used to assign authority to someone outside the family. Health-care proxies go into effect when the attending physician determines that the patient lacks the capacity to make decisions. Prior to that time, the person retains all decision-making rights.


See publications of Choice in Dying.

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References in periodicals archive ?
It is one thing for an attorney to ask a (healthy) client, "Do you have an advance directive?" and to assist that client in filling out a simple form appointing a health care proxy or ticking boxes about preferences for or against life supportive measures on a living will form.
They may tell their health care proxy that they want to die at home, for example, or that being mobile or able to communicate with their family is very important, said Jon Radulovic, a vice president at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Once you have completed the advance directive(s), make copies and give them to your health care proxy, other family members or friends who may need to be involved in your care, and your doctor.
Many doctors have discussions with their patients in regard to them having a health care proxy and a DNR prior to surgery or at an annual visit.
Do you already have an Advance Directive and designated health care proxy? If so, good work!
* If your hospital stay is planned, make sure you've completed a health care proxy form, and review your living will and similar documents with your proxy.
Together, a power of attorney (1) and a health care proxy (2) are two of the most basic and essential estate planning documents for people of any age.
Conversations between doctors and patients would include topics ranging from living wills and naming a health care proxy to learning about hospice care and pain medications.
The book offers step-by-step directions for tasks such as organizing legal, financial, and other information, ensuring access to medical records, drawing up a health care proxy, distributing assets through a will, and creating a revocable living trust.
Alternatively, you may find that a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy, or appointment of advocate designation, rather than a court appointed guardian, may be a more suitable avenue to pursue."
In making these decisions, the people who have advance directives have presumably thought about these things, and they've written a living will, or completed a "Five Wishes" document, or they've designated a health care proxy. But, people sometimes change their minds when they get to the actual point of approaching their own death, assuming they are able to make decisions.
It might be beneficial to authorize a caregiver to receive medical information, or to designate a guardian in your health care proxy. Your attorney can explain these options.

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