Health Care Agent

A healthcare agent is a person appointed to make medical decisions on behalf of another person, known as the principal, in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to communicate their wishes. A healthcare agent can also be known as a healthcare proxy, healthcare surrogate, or medical power of attorney. The agent is responsible for advocating for the principal and making decisions that align with the principal’s wishes, values, and best interests. For these reasons, the agent should be a trusted individual with whom the principal has discussed their healthcare preferences and values. 

A healthcare agent is typically appointed through a legal document called a healthcare power of attorney or medical power of attorney. For a healthcare agent to come into play, a healthcare provider must have determined that the principal is unable to make their own healthcare decisions. 

A healthcare agent’s responsibilities might include: 

  • Consulting with healthcare providers and making decisions about medical treatment options, procedures, and interventions. 
  • Ensuring that the principal’s preferences regarding medical and end-of-life care are followed. 
  • Communicating with the principal’s family members, caregivers, and other healthcare professionals to gather necessary information and make informed decisions. 

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