• How should I choose my Health Care Surrogate?

Your health care surrogate will speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. You must choose your health care surrogate carefully, and then share your choices for medical treatment near the end of life with that person. Most people choose the individual(s) they know best, such as their closest relative(s) or friend(s). Some individuals prefer a family member or friend because of their knowledge of medical situations.

Many families experience conflict and guilt when trying to decide what’s best for a loved one who is unable to speak on his or her own behalf. Some are even torn apart. When you have a plan and talk to your loved ones about it, you spare them unnecessary stress and give them peace in knowing they are following your preferences. And by choosing someone to be your health care surrogate, you remain in control no matter the circumstances.

A health care surrogate (HCS) is an adult who is authorized, with your permission, to make medical decisions for you when you’re no longer capable of doing so. And they make those decisions based on your wishes. A good HCS must know the patient well and understands what’s important to him/her. They must be prepared to respond to conflicting opinions between family and the medical team if necessary.

Posted in: Advance Care Planning