A health care agent is a person chosen to make medical decisions
for another, should a severe illness or injury occur that makes communication
impossible. The document that grants this decision-making power to the person
selected is called a medical power of attorney.
A health care agent may also be called a health care proxy or
surrogate or an attorney-in-fact.
Although laws vary by state, a health care agent can usually make
medical treatment decisions at the end of life or anytime a person is not able
to communicate. As soon as a person selects a health care agent, it is
important to thoroughly discuss and document medical care preferences, such as
when to continue or abandon life-support measures.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Shelly R. Garone, MD, FACP - Palliative Medicine
PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.