Health Care Proxies and Living Wills

Advance directives – including health care proxies and living wills – allow you to define who will be responsible for your medical care decisions and the treatment you would like to receive.

A health care proxy is a legal document through which you appoint someone to make decisions about your care for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. The person that you identify as your health care proxy has broad authority over your care and has access to all of your medical records.

A living will allows you to specify your preferences for medical care should you become terminally ill or it is not expected that you will recover from physical or mental disability or disease. It can give general guidelines, such as requesting no life-support if you are terminally ill, or specific instructions, such as banning the use of a breathing tube.

Once your decision is made about whom to appoint as your health care proxy and your preferences for medical care are determined, completing the forms to establish these documents is simple.

For more information and copies of the necessary forms, see our:

Important Points

  • Please ask your primary care physician to discuss these documents with you.
  • Please bring a copy of your living will and health care proxy with you to all hospital appointments for surgical procedures.

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