Health Care Proxy - Genser Cona Elder Law

Health Care Proxy

Choosing a Health Care agent will help ensure you receive the care you want in the event you become incapacitated. A Health Care Proxy is a document that allows you to appoint a person you trust as your health care agent authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

Your Health Care agent will advocate for the treatment and care you want in the moments when you're not able to do so yourself. As a result, this person should be someone you trust, who knows your wishes about medical treatment and is willing to take responsibility to ensure your wishes are followed.

Because the documents involved with naming a Health Care agent can vary and can be complex, it's important to have the guidance and assistance of the experienced Elder Law attorneys at Genser Cona Elder Law. Our attorneys bring decades of experience helping people like you create well-drafted advance directives and Health Care Proxy documents.

Who Can Be My Health Care Agent?

The choice of a health care agent is extremely important, as they may be your only voice should you be unable to make your wishes known. A health care agent can be any adult, such as a loved one, friend or family member 18 years old or older.  You should also designate an alternate agent in the event your primary agent is unavailable or unable to act.

Your agent should be someone you have reasonably close, fairly regular contact with. This way, if your desires change, you will be able to inform him/her of your new wishes. Whenever you're choosing a proxy make sure to consider:

  1. Will they be equipped to make decisions for you — even if their wishes are different?
  2. Will they stand up for you and your wishes?
  3. Can their emotional connection with you get in the way of them honoring your wishes?
  4. Will they feel comfortable asking questions of doctors and other medical staff?
  5. Will this person ask the physician to clarify if they do not understand?
  6. Can they make decisions in changing circumstances?

When Will My Agent Make Decisions For Me?

Once a doctor has determined you are unable to make decisions about your health care, your agent can speak on your behalf. Situations in which this may occur include:

  • If you are unconscious
  • If you develop Alzheimer's disease or other dementia
  • If you have entered a persistent, vegetative state
  • If you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated
  • If you are in a coma

Health Care Proxy vs Living Will?

A Living Will is a special document where you set forth your wishes regarding end-of-life care. The Living Will works together with the Health Care Proxy and the agent named must be the same in both documents.  You make your own medical care decisions known in the Living Will; your Health Care Agent simply sees to it that your wishes are carried out by their authority under the Health Care Proxy.

What Types of Issues Should Be Discussed With an Healthcare Agent?

Although these topics are difficult and may be uncomfortable, you should discuss issues surrounding your preferences including:

  • Where do you want to receive care (home, assisted living, move closer to relatives, etc)?
  • What doctors and/or facilities do you want to care for you?
  • Do you want experimental treatments if they are available?
  • Do you want extraordinary life-sustaining measures?

Other pertinent topics include issues surrounding organ donation.  This information will be included on your Health Care Proxy.

Contact Genser Cona Elder Law for Health Care Proxy Assistance

When it comes to drafting a Health Care Proxy, the attorneys at Genser Cona Elder Law will be with you every step of the way. We have been recognized as the top Elder Law and Estate Planning Law firm on Long Island. Since 1998, Genser Cona Elder Law has helped families with a range of Elder Law issues, including special needs planning, Medicaid planning, estate planning and more.

Contact Genser Cona Elder Law today to schedule a consultation.