A Healthcare Proxy: The MOST Important Document for a Patient AND Their Family.
One thing every cancer patient and their loved ones knows, beyond a doubt, is that life is a gift. It’s a reality that the rest of us can sometimes forget – that there are no guarantees. One day at a time, that gift means that we are here, threaded into one another’s lives.
A Healthcare Proxy is one of the most important gifts you can give your loved ones, believe it or not. It signifies who, among your family and friends, you have formally asked to step in and make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions during your illness. This is something you should do formally – taking the time to ask the person and to explain in detail what your wishes are. It is never easy when someone is ill. These are difficult conversations, but they not only spare everyone involved from guesswork, guilt and worry, they also sometimes open the lines of communication with the most important people in our lives and give you a chance to truly communicate with each other.
While there are many documents we should all have filled out and clearly labeled in our homes, or even available on line, in the case of a Healthcare Proxy, you should literally have this document in your possession at all times – literally in your purse or wallet. (And remember that the laws about how a Healthcare Proxy needs to be executed and utilized vary from state to state. Check with your attorney or your doctor to be sure yours are executed properly.)
What IS a Healthcare Proxy? Quite simply, a healthcare proxy is what is called an advanced directive – that means a document that allows you to appoint an agent on your behalf, who is empowered to make healthcare decisions in the event you cannot. The idea is that the patient’s wishes are followed even if they are incapable of communicating them. This can often unburden our loved ones from making difficult decisions in some very tough situations.
Be sure that your chosen person is comfortable to advocate for you and feels confident in the choices you have made about your healthcare, under all circumstances.
Remember that these documents vary state by state. You can download your individual State’s Advance Directives by clicking here.
Camelot Cancer Care