Health Care Surrogates
A healthcare surrogate, also known as a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney, is an individual appointed to make medical decisions on behalf of another person in the event that they are unable to do so themselves. This designation typically occurs when an individual becomes incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently, due to an illness, injury, or mental condition. The healthcare surrogate acts as a trusted representative who ensures that the person’s healthcare wishes and best interests are upheld.
The role of a healthcare surrogate is crucial in situations where a person is unable to communicate their healthcare preferences or make decisions regarding their medical treatment. The surrogate is often a close family member, spouse, or trusted friend who is familiar with the person’s values, beliefs, and healthcare preferences. They work closely with healthcare professionals, following any instructions or wishes outlined in advance directives such as a living will or durable power of attorney for healthcare. The healthcare surrogate’s primary responsibility is to advocate for the person’s medical care, ensuring that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers understand and respect the person’s wishes and make decisions in their best interest.