Nicole J. Zuvich
4 considerations for choosing a health care proxy
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
A health care proxy is a person you designate to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make them yourself. It is a role that carries with it significant responsibility.
Because the role of health care proxy carries so much responsibility and importance, you should weigh the decision carefully. AARP identifies some particular things to consider before making your choice.
1. Physical and mental ability
A health care proxy has to be able to make decisions in challenging situations. He or she should have a calm, even temperament. The person you choose should not be prone to erratic behavior or snap judgment. You should also choose someone whose own physical health is reasonably good to help ensure he or she is able to serve as your proxy.
Doctors and other people may try to influence your proxy to make a decision that he or she knows would be counter to your wishes. You need someone who is confident and assertive enough to stick to your wishes without giving in to pressure from others.
You need to choose someone as your health care proxy whom you can trust to put your needs and interests ahead of all other considerations.
While it is not strictly necessary that your health care proxy live near you, it does help to make communications with your doctor much easier.
Before you designate a health care proxy, discuss the matter with the person you choose first and ask if he or she is willing to serve in this capacity. It is not fair to put so much responsibility on someone without his or her knowledge and consent.