No matter your age, it makes sense to designate a healthcare proxy. That’s a person who can make critical medical decisions for you in a crisis.
Many people get stressed, when asked to supply a name for their healthcare proxy. As a result, they end up making a bad selection. They can also fail to share that information with the person they selected.
Forbes’ recent article, “How To Select A Healthcare Proxy,” says that while the odds of being called into service are low, the person we choose for such a role should be picked with great thought, as to their availability and their suitability. Let’s look at these guidelines that can help with the selection.
Your healthcare proxy should know you well, understand your values, and be able to distinguish them from his or her own. The person must also be willing to discuss sensitive topics in depth, in order to gain a true understanding of what you want and don’t want.
If you have close family, it may seem obvious to pick your spouse or your first-born child or your closest sibling as your proxy. However, ask yourself if this person is the best person for the job. He or she may have to deal with push-back from other members of the family or conflict among family, friends and medical personnel. Can they handle this?
Age. Your proxy should be available long into the future. If you want someone in that position who’s close to your age, be sure to also select back-ups, and select a person who’s much younger.
Geography. The person in first position on your healthcare proxy should live close by, because hospitals frequently require a live human being to make critical care decisions. Your proxy needs to be able to get to the facility quickly.
Choose multiples. Select more than one person named as a proxy. If the person in first position can’t get there or is incapacitated, someone else will have to take their place.
When you’ve made your selections on your advance directive, have a one-to-one conversation with each person you name—no matter whether they are in first position on your document or as a back-up. You should also tell family members and close friends of your choice.
Reference: Forbes (April 10, 2019) “How To Select A Healthcare Proxy”