While it is not a pleasant subject to consider, there may come a time when you are unable to make decisions about your own medical care. When that time comes, having someone in your corner is crucial to ensure your wishes are respected.
This is the purpose of a healthcare surrogate. AARP explains what surrogates do and the best practices for choosing one. Regardless of your age or health status, you should have a surrogate in place if the unthinkable happens.
What is a healthcare surrogate designation?
A healthcare surrogate designation is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated by illness or injury. In the event you are unable to communicate your wishes for medical care at the time, your surrogate would have the authority to do so. Surrogates can also act on your behalf when you need help managing medical care due to terminal illness, or when communication is difficult due to medications or medical procedures.
Whom should I choose to act on my behalf?
There are many factors to consider when making such an important decision. Choosing a person you can trust is crucial, so the individual should exhibit responsibility in their own life. They should also be mentally and physically healthy so that they can perform their duties without interruption. Because the person may need to act quickly if you are severely injured in an accident, choosing someone who lives close to you is recommended.
Another thing to consider is how capable your selection will be when communicating with doctors and family members. If your wishes go against the grain, which is often the case when people choose not to be resuscitated or only request palliative care, your surrogate will be responsible for upholding them. This can be an intimidating prospect, but it is crucial to ensure your wishes are upheld.