Your Internet Guide to the resources devoted to serving older adults on
Cape Cod and the Islands.
Elder Resources: Health Care Proxy
The Proxy is a legal document
recognized under Massachusetts law which enables you to choose
a Health Care Agent (a person to speak for you if you ever become
incapable of communicating or making decisions about your medical
care). It differs from a living will which does not identify
an individual with whom your doctor can discuss important medical
decisions on your behalf. An agent is designated
by means of a proxy, a document which meets certain
formalities. The proxy may contain limitations on the agent's
authority and specific instructions about medical care. The Health
Care Proxy becomes effective only when the patient's attending
physician has determined IN WRITING that the patient lacks capacity
to make or communicate health care decisions. The patient may
revoke the proxy at any time.
The Health Care Proxy is a simple legal document that allows
you to name someone you know and trust to make health care decisions
for you if, for any reason and at any time, you become unable
to make or communicate those decisions. It is an important document,
however, because it concerns not only the choices you make about
your health care, but also the relationships you have with your
physician, family, and others who may be involved with your care.
Your agent will make decisions about your health care ONLY when
you are, for some reason, unable to do that yourself. This means
that your agent can act for you if you are temporarily unconscious,
in a coma, or have some other condition in which you cannot make
or communicate health care decisions. Your agent cannot act for
you ntil your doctor determines, in writing, that you lack the
ability to make health care decisions.
Acting with your authority, your agent can make any health care
decision that you could, if you were able.
Your agent will make decisions for you only after talking with
your doctor or health care provider, and after fully considering
all the options regarding diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment
of your illness or condition. Your agent has the legal right
to get any information, including confidential medical information,
necessary to make informed decisions for you.
Your agent will make health care decisions for you according
to your wishes or according to his/her assessment of your wishes,
including your religious or moral beliefs. You may wish to talk
first with your doctor, religious advisor, or other people before
giving instructions to your agent.
Massachusetts Health Care Proxy Sample
To receive your complete Health Care Proxy Educational Packet,
call 781-784-1966 or write PO Box 417, Sharon, MA 02067
Contact Inter-Generations at firstname.lastname@example.org