- What is a Health Care Proxy?
- Who should be chosen in a Health Care Proxy?
- Why do you need an HCP?
- Is ignoring HCPs worth it?
The Definition of Health Care Proxy
A Health Care Proxy or HCP is a document which allows an individual to appoint any person to make medical decisions on his behalf. It is also known as a durable medical power of attorney. The HCP gets the power when the individual is incapable of making his own medical decisions due to some medical condition, such as Dementia. The document also lists the limits of a health care proxy.
Do you already have an HCP? If your answer is in the negative, this article is what you need to decide if you need an HCP or can you skip it. We have tried answering various queries that you may have and also inform you about reasons which make it imperative to have them.
In this world, every situation is like a coin, and this is no different. We have also covered specific reasons for you to avoid them as well. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Life without a Health Care Proxy
If you are in the USA, most of its states have some law or the other stating the requirement to appoint a “surrogate.” The person is entitled to make a decision when you are incapacitated. Unfortunately, the same is not followed all over the world.
In case of a surrogate, he/she is usually the spouse, the parent, a child above 18, or any other relative or close friend. It ensures that even without an HCP, you can bank on the government to allow your closest to take a rational decision.
A health care proxy ensures that there are no arguments, and the workflow is without hindrance. It makes sure that the critical operations are not held up due to indecisiveness or the inability to agree to a decision.
Who should be named a Health Care Proxy?
Well, the most straightforward answer that you may think for the question is that the person you trust the most should act as your proxy. The truth of the matter is that there are several other considerations that you need to keep in mind while deciding the right person for us.
The first thing to consider is that the HCP must be emotionally stable and can shrug off emotions when required. The person must have a working mind capable of making appropriate decisions aptly. There are chances that doctors and attorneys, and even your family members want him to take a different call. He must have the will to carry out what you have asked him to do.
A health care proxy ideally should be a local who lives nearby and can stay throughout the operation period.
How to appoint an HCP?
You are eligible to choose a health care proxy once you touch the age of 18. The rules of choosing your proxy differ from state to state. We suggest you to discuss with your attorney to understand the entire process. You need to fill the appropriate form as applicable in your country.
Do remember that the HCP is a legal document, which means you can get it notarized. You must have witnesses other than the chosen individual and the attorney while signing the document. You must name your proxy yourself, and he must be a person of sound mind for the paperwork to be valid.
Key Points to communicate to an HCP
- To start, they must have a copy of the health care proxy form and other relevant documents
- Provide them the names of all your health providers along with their contact information
- Provide them your medical records to make it easier for them to decide the course of action
- Mention any specific points that you want him/her to adhere to like wanting to donate your organs or how you want critical operations to pan out
Why you need a Health Care Proxy?
How many of you know what a health care proxy is and what is his role? If your answer is in the affirmative, I would like to tell you that I did not know about them a few months back. Most of the people around me have no clue what it is as well.
An HCP is very important for you, be it in health terms or financial terms. It can help you to own your health and how you want the doctors to operate you in an emergency. It also ensures that you have a person who is knowledgeable to take care on behalf of you. It also ensures that your family understands the course of action and how it will shape up.
Is ignoring HCPs worth it?
While it is challenging to ignore a health care proxy, there are specific reasons that may turn you against it.
Here are the reasons why you should avoid an HCP –
Inability to hold your nerves
Many people are unable to keep their nerves when they are in a crunch. If the HCP falls in that category, you can suffer due to his emotional fragility. It can not only hurt the process of your recovery, but it also can throw a meaty blow to your finances as well.
If your HCP suffers from indecisiveness, it can lead to a massive setback in your plans. He may not be able to decide what is best for you even after getting explicit instructions from you. Further, his indecisive nature can elongate the process and cause monetary loss to your family.
If you are a frequent traveler and are in the habit of traveling in between different states continuously, getting a health care proxy is not worth it for you. If your HCP is not physically close to you, this document won’t help you a great deal.
How HCP is different from Living Will?
Living Will and Health Care Proxies are advance directives and work similarly, but have differences in some key areas. A Living Will is a medium which allows a person to mention his medical needs. An HCP, on the other hand, will enable you to appoint a person who can make medical decisions on your behalf.
Living Will doesn’t call for another human to make decisions on behalf of the concerned person. Having both the directives compensates for the disadvantages of both of them, and you may opt for both if you deem it necessary.
The Sum Up
While we all love to have a life with no medical catastrophe, they are inevitable and can turn up at the most unexpected point in our lives. If we want to give them a fight, we must take measures beforehand.
Having a health care proxy will ensure that in the times of emergency, there is no need for hasty decisions. It will also ensure that you have someone who trusts to dictate terms instead of the court or people who are not good at it.