Every single Massachusetts resident over the age of eighteen should have a valid Health Care Proxy. It is a document that allows you to choose a trusted person who will make medical decisions for you if you are unconscious or unable to competently make decisions for yourself. When you designate your spouse, adult child, or other trusted person as your healthcare agent, that designated person will be empowered to communicate with medical care providers and make your wishes known if you are unable to do so.
The Health Care Proxy is important because certain laws and regulations can create enormous obstacles to coordinating medical care if you become seriously ill or incapacitated. Everyone needs a valid Health Care Proxy because the power to make medical decisions should be left to a loved one who knows you and will make decisions based on your wishes. The document is also flexible and ensures that you will make your own decisions once you regain consciousness and/or competency.
The most common uses of the Health Care Proxy occur either when there is an accident that leaves a person temporarily or permanently incapacitated, or when a person succumbs to a progressively worsening disease that renders him unable to make decisions for himself. For example, an adult child can use the Health Care Proxy to communicate a parent’s wish to be taken off life support in the event of an accident that renders the parent incapable of living without life support devices.
While most of us don’t like to think about these possibilities, it is important to at least give some thought to what we want to happen in the unlikely event of an accident or terminal illness. The most important aspect of the Health Care Proxy document is to provide peace of mind that your wishes will be communicated if you are unable to communicate for yourself.
Here at my office, we can fully explain the details of the Health Care Proxy to you as well as discuss the most effective way to implement and use the document. If you have questions, please give us a call at 978-343-7772