Choosing a health care proxy or agent

A health care proxy (also sometimes called an agent or surrogate) is the person you name in your Medical Power
of Attorney
document to make decisions about your care only when you cannot speak for yourself. Choose a trusted adult relative or friend, your lawyer or someone from your social or spiritual community who shares your views and values about life and medical decisions.

  • Make sure the person you choose agrees to this responsibility!
  • Write your wishes down for them. Better yet, video yourself talking about your wishes.
  • Talk with them about the types of care you would want in different scenarios. Make it an ongoing conversation — your wishes may change!
  • Carry their name and number in your wallet.

If you are not able to make your own health care decisions and have not named a proxy, your care team may ask a relative to make decisions for you, or the state may appoint someone to speak on your behalf. The choice is yours. Choose a proxy now and let them know your wishes!

Important: Naming someone your health care proxy does NOT give them power to make financial or legal decisions for you.