March 11, 2024

Can a Health Care Proxy Override the Patient’s Decisions?

By Geraldine

can a health care proxy override the patient

Name someone as your health care proxy so they can ensure your medical preferences are followed when you cannot make decisions for yourself. They can also be appointed executor of your last will and testament after your death, handling all financial affairs on your behalf. Be sure to discuss your wishes with this person and then draft documents detailing specific treatment goals or priorities – some people also choose to include additional documents like living wills.

Consider creating a Power of Attorney for Healthcare or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare to give your agent more authority should doctors be unable to verify that you are incapacitated. This document can provide more specific instructions regarding medical decisions as well as allow backup agents to be named if needed.

POLST (Patient Options for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is a set of medical directives that detail your choices regarding end-of-life care. This document can either be included with an existing healthcare proxy document, or it can stand alone. A POLST provides doctors and caregivers with a more precise picture of your wishes when approaching death.

Health care agents must abide by both verbal and written instructions from you when making decisions, taking into account any moral and religious preferences if known; otherwise, doctors can decide the course of action which best serves your interests.

Health care proxies can also help minimize family tension over end-of-life decisions. When selecting someone as your proxy, be sure to discuss their preferences and ensure they feel at ease taking on this role. Furthermore, regularly discuss your values and wishes with them so they are familiar with them.

At any point in time, it is possible and advisable to modify or cancel a health care proxy. When making this change, be sure to inform both your agent, medical team and any family members involved of the change either written notice or personally.

Consult a family or estate planning attorney in order to learn about and complete all necessary forms for this matter in your state. It may be useful to have both a health care proxy and living will in place depending on where you reside; otherwise state law will decide who makes medical decisions on your behalf – potentially spouse, parent or child or even close friend(s). New York allows family members under the Family Health Care Decisions Act as representatives while other may use trusted friends as surrogates surrogates representatives.