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Health care agent

A health care agent is a person you choose to make medical decisions for you if a severe illness or injury makes it impossible for you to speak for yourself. The document that grants this decision-making power to the person you select is called a medical power of attorney.

A health care agent may also be called a health care proxy or health care surrogate. The medical power of attorney may also be called a durable power of attorney for health care. The agent and the document may be called something else in your state.

Laws vary by state. But 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 you choose a health care agent, it's important to talk about and write down your medical care preferences. For example, you would talk about when to continue or stop life-support measures.

 
 

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.