Skip to content

Information and Resources

Health Care Agents: Appointing One and Being One

Font Size
A
A
A

Dying is a part of life, but can be a difficult process. Healthcare agents can make that process easier for patients, their loved ones, and their caregivers. Selecting a health care agent for yourself and agreeing to be an agent for someone you love are among the most important decisions you will ever make. This booklet was written to give you information that will help you make decisions effectively.

There is now clear legal and ethical agreement that patients should have the final authority to make decisions about their own medical treatment. But what happens when patients are too sick to make their decisions known? Every state now has a legal way for people to appoint a health care agent, someone who can be their voice and their advocate if they cannot speak for themselves.

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

Caregiving and Your Loved One's Health

As a caregiver, you can't always make your loved one healthy. But by making sure that he or she gets good medical care -- and fostering a healthy environment and lifestyle -- you can make a real difference. Here are some key caregiving tips.  Medical care. Make sure your loved one gets to doctor appointments. Caregivers may also want to tag along to at least some appointments and serve as medical advocates. Come up with a list of questions and concerns to discuss with the doctor beforehand...

Read the Caregiving and Your Loved One's Health article > >

Healthcare agents are vital in this age of spectacular medical advances, because technology enables us to live longer, healthier lives. This technology can create difficult decisions about when to use it near the end of life. Many people want to decide whether or not to undergo life-sustaining treatment if it cannot cure or improve their condition, and can only prolong dying. When most people cannot make their own decisions, they want those decisions made by someone they know and trust, not by medical professionals, administrators, or judges. Appointing a health care agent ensures that your wishes and values guide decisions about your care.

Being the health care agent for someone can be a complex and emotionally wrenching task. These decisions involve deeply-held personal and moral values, as well as legal and medical issues. They are made under difficult circumstances-the death of a loved one-and they can be final decisions. However, being a health care agent can also be rewarding. It is an opportunity to serve and care for someone you love.

Healthcare agents can be extremely beneficial, but only if they are thoughtfully selected and well-prepared to assume the tasks involved. This booklet will provide important information if you are selecting a health care agent or if you are thinking about becoming an agent for someone else. By carefully considering the issues raised in this text, you can reduce uncertainty about what decisions will best reflect your wishes or those of the person for whom you will speak. Careful thought and preparation can even eliminate conflicts among health care professionals, family members, or other loved ones about these complex decisions.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
pregnancy test and calendar
Helping you get pregnant.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
woman standing behind curtains
How it affects you.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
psoriasis
How to keep flares at bay.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
spinal compression fracture
Treatment options.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.