When thinking about the future, many people in Louisiana will often make financial decisions and name the beneficiaries of property and money, but not as many make decisions relating to their own healthcare. A health proxy is helpful in the event someone becomes unable to make important medical decisions, and it ensures family members and medical teams follow their wishes.
According to Investopedia, a health proxy is a legal document that names an appointee who will make healthcare decisions if an individual is unable to do so. This proxy goes into effect in a number of situations, such as when one is in a coma, has serious injuries or is gravely ill. Without this directive, family members would need to make decisions, and these may not be what the patient wants and/or the family may not agree about all choices. A proxy can be simple to prepare, but the patient should take the time to have important discussions with medical providers and trusted individuals about life-saving considerations.
Tufts Medical Center discusses some factors to consider and how to choose a health proxy appointee. Some things to think about include:
- Life support methods such as feeding tubes and breathing machines
- Breathing and heartbeat revival
- Types of treatment, such as artificial nutrition, respirators and dialysis
- Intensity of treatment
Considering the important decisions to make, choosing someone trustworthy is important. This means someone who will follow through with the patient's wishes, even if the appointee does not agree. The person should be able to stand up to disagreeing family members, make critical decisions under pressure and feel comfortable asking the medical team for clarity.